COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys lose a close one; Packers up next

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost their first game of the season in a close defensive battle on Sunday night. Neither team could get much going offensively, but the Cowboys scored the only touchdown of the game in the 12-10 loss.

Recap

Turnovers are one of the most key factors in all games, and this was no different. Dallas coughed up the ball three times to New Orleans' one. The Dallas Defense was stout and did everything they needed to do to be in position to win; especially only allowing four field goals.They held the Saints best player Alvin Kamara to under 70 yards rushing and only 20 yards receiving.Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were all over the field.Smith had 9 total tackles (7 solo, 2 for loss) and 1 sack.Vander Esch led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo).

With both defenses playing well, quarterback Dak Prescott was 22/33 for 223 passing yards, ZERO touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also had only one carry for 7 yards. Prescott was able to spread the ball around to six different receivers but was still unable to get in a rhythm.The loss of No. 2 receiver Michael Gallup might have a bigger impact than expected.

The passing game wasn't the only thing out of synch. Pro Bowl/Super Star Ezekiel Elliott had one of his worst games in his career. He had 18 carries for 35 yards but was able to score a 1-yard touchdown. He also led the team in catches with 6 for 30 yards on 7 targets.It's no coincidence when Zeke struggles, the offense struggles because he is the driving force.

The loss drops Dallas to (3-1) and still all alone atop the NFC East but both Philadelphia and New York won and are one game back at (2-2).

3 Things to Watch For

3 things to watch for

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke should be in line for other 20+ touch game as he will try to get the offense back on track this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers 7th worst rush defense.

2.Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith (Linebackers): As amazing as they were this past week, they are going to play great again as they go up against NFL great Aaron Rodgers.They are going to have to keep him contained and not allow him the get the ball deep down field.

3.Randall Cobb (Wide Receiver): As the defacto No. 2 receiver due to injury, I want to see him step up and have a big game as he goes up against his old team.I expect for him to get a few more looks than normal to give him a bit of revenge since the Packers let him go last year.

Coming Up

Sunday October 6th, the Cowboys (3-1) will be taking on the Green Bay Packers (3-1) at home in AT&T Stadium (AKA:Jerry's World). Kickoff is set for 3:25 pm Central time. With both teams coming off their first losses of the year, I expect them both to come out firing.The Packers will be looking to take advantage of the Cowboys through the air and the Cowboys will be looking to run on them.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB)

Packers: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Aaron Jones (RB), Davante Adams (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -3.5 and the over/under is 47.I don't have a good feeling about Dallas at more than 3 but I think the over is the best way to go.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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