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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After grinding through back-to-back extra-inning games in the series with the Los Angeles Angels where they would ultimately come away with the victory, the Astros had a day off on Monday before getting back into action on Tuesday. They were in Arizona for the first of three games against the Diamondbacks. Here is a rundown of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 8, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 6-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 7.04 ERA).

Houston takes an early lead against Bumgarner and then piles on

Houston wasted no time going after Madison Bumgarner, with George Springer going after the first pitch of the game for a groundout, then Jose Altuve launching a solo home run on the next pitch to get an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. They added to that lead in the second inning, with Carlos Correa leading it off with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-0. After two hit batters and a single, the Astros had the bases loaded for George Springer with one out, and he would deliver a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 3-0.

They would put runners on base in the next two innings, but would not score again until the fifth when a Bumgarner fielding error on a potential double-play would bring in a run and extend the inning. Houston would go on to load the bases, setting up Kyle Tucker for an RBI-single to make it 5-1 and end Bumgarner's night. Against Arizona's new reliever, Martin Maldonado worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-1, then Springer followed with a two-RBI double, blowing the game open at 8-1.

Javier gets first-career win in another impressive start

With a lead in hand when he went to the mound, Cristian Javier had another strong performance in his second-ever start. He allowed just one baserunner over the first three innings, a single in the second. After those three efficient innings, he would face some adversity in the bottom of the fourth. After allowing a double and one-out walk, he would give up his first run of the night on an RBI-single to make it a 3-1 game. Luckily, a great double play behind him would get him out of the jam and the inning.

Javier was able to settle back in after that rougher inning, getting quick, scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, earning him the win. His final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR.

Yet another rookie pitching debut as Houston's bullpen finishes the win

Bryan Abreu was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the bottom of the seventh. He would not have an inning to remember, allowing a leadoff double followed later by two walks to load the bases. He then walked in a run, making it 8-2, and prompting another call to the bullpen. Enoli Paredes would enter and get the final out of the seventh inning.

Paredes ran into trouble of his own in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases after a walk and two singles, but with some help from Houston's defense would keep it a six-run lead heading to the ninth. In yet another Astros debut for a pitcher in 2020, Humberto Castellanos entered in the bottom of the ninth, and he recorded the final three outs to close out the victory for Houston.

Up Next: This series continues on Wednesday with the middle game of this three-game set at 8:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 5.40 ERA) will return to the mound in another start for the Astros, while Robbie Ray (0-2, 8.64 ERA) will look to turn things around in his early season with the Diamondbacks.

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