COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys tame Lions; Patriots up next

Zeke Elliot keeps rolling. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys got a much-needed win on Sunday when they beat the Detroit Lions 35-27. It was important for them to get a win because their next two opponents are the New England Patriots (9-1) and the Buffalo Bills (7-3).

Recap

Once again the Cowboys spotted the opposition an early lead but were able to take control of the game by halftime. The coaching staff improved their play calling which helped keep them out of bad situations. The Dallas offense was unstoppable though the air as they totaled 434 yards (509 yards total) and 26 first downs.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 29/46 for 444 yards, 3 touchdowns, and NO turnovers. This is the third game in a row he has thrown for at least 3 touchdowns and keeps showing why he deserves a big contract at the end of the season. Prescott connected with 7 different receivers, which included a duo of 100 yard pass catchers. They were led by 2nd year wide out Michael Gallup who caught 9 balls for 148 yards. Slot receiver Randall Cobb was second on the team with 4 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Superstar Amari Cooper only had 3 receptions for 38 yards but 2 of them were for 1st downs that led to a Cowboys score.

Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott only got 18 touches but he did not have to be the workhorse this week with Dak and Company having such success through the air. Zeke carried the ball 16 times for 45 yards and 1 touchdown. He also caught 2 balls for 28 yards and another touchdown.

Dallas improves to (6-4) and is in all alone in first place atop the NFC East. They are ahead of their division rival Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) who lost this past week.

3Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): I can guarantee the coach Belichick will have the Patriots defense locked in on him. The Cowboys are going to have to come up with some creative ways to put Zeke is a position to succeed against the #1 defense in the NFL.

2.Randall Cobb (Wide Receiver): Has scored a touchdown in each of his last 2 games and should be in line for some more big plays this week with the New England defense having to worry about Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.

3.Jason Garrett (Head Coach): Needs to have a good game plan and must be able to make adjustments during the game. Dallas is usually able to overcome coaching mistakes due to their talent on the field but this week could get out of hand early if Garrett is not properly prepared.

Coming Up

The Dallas Cowboys (6-4) will be on the road taking on the New England Patriots (9-1) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Kickoff is set for 3:25 pm Central Time. The Cowboys are going to have to be at the top of their game if they want to beat the defending Super Bowl champs. Dak Prescott is going to have to be mistake free and keep the #1 offense in the NFL going.

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

Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB), Michael Gallup (WR), Randall Cobb (WR)

Patriots: Julian Edelman (WR), Tom Brady (QB)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently + 6.5 and the over/under is 46. The Cowboys haven't beaten any team with a current record over .500 and I am not sure if they will this week. It is a no play for me but if you have to play, I would lean on the under unless you can get Dallas at +7 or more.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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