Cowboys 37, Giants 18

Cowboys vs. Giants: Good, bad and ugly

The Cowboys won their second consecutive game, and their fifth game of the season against the Giants on Monday night. Both teams got off to slow starts, but the Cowboys were able to overcome this setback and take a big victory in East Rutherford.

The good

Ezekiel Elliot had a great game with 23 carries for 139 yards. The Cowboys' offensive line was opening up holes left and right for Elliot to seemingly gain 5 yards on every carry. The offense relied heavily on the run game early on, but once Elliot got going, the rest of the Cowboys offense starting clicking as well.

The defense stepped up at pivotal times throughout the game. Sean Lee lead the game in tackles and had a key stop in the fourth quarter against Saquon Barkley. Xavier Woods had a pivotal interception in the 2nd quarter that would set up Bret Maher for a 52 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 13-12. The boys never trailed again once they took the lead.

Dak Prescott got off to a rocky start throwing his first pass of the game to Giants Safety Antoine Bethea. The offense continued to stall until an 8-yard pass to Blake Jarwin that turned into a 42 yard touchdown. All of the momentum switched to the Cowboys after this score. We even saw the return of Dak's deep ball to Amari Cooper for a 45 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.

The bad

Injuries are continuing to plague the Cowboys, especially on the defensive side. Leighton Vander Esch missed his first game after leaving early with a neck injury against the Eagles in Week 7. He is still listed as day-to-day, but his presence was sorely missed. Safety Jeff Health left the game Monday night with a leg injury. After the game he received 12 stitches to seal a laceration he suffered saving a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the third quarter. He did not return to the game.

Penalties are still a big problem for the team. The Cowboys committed 10 penalties for a total of 104 yards. Tyron Smith committed two holding calls and Randell Cobb had two penalties against him as well. One negating a touchdown.

Michael Bennett's debut for the Cowboys was lackluster to say the least. He committed two penalties, one for offside and the other for lining up in the neutral zone. The offside penalty gifted the Giants a free first down. He did have three tackles and one sack, but he needs to work on not obtaining so many penalties going forward.

The ugly

For the third time this season, turnovers and lack of offensive consistency stalled the Cowboys offense in the first half. If they want success in their final eight games, getting off to good starts is key. Tougher teams like the Vikings, Patriots, Bills and Rams can and will take advantage of the Cowboys if they continue to get off to sluggish starts.

The cat was the most odd thing about this game. Although it was entertaining to see a cat run on the filed, it did delay the game for a couple minutes. This oddity ultimately resulted in a Cowboys victory so whose to say a black cat is always bad luck.

The amount of penalties called on both teams caused the game to go longer than a typical NFL game should have. Together there were 18 penalties for 175 yards. There were 22 total flags thrown in this game resulting in one of the longest games of the week .

Overall both teams put up mediocre numbers offensively in the first half, but once the Cowboys took the lead, their offensive struggles dissipated. The Cowboys now sit alone atop the NFC East with a 5-3 record, and the Giants sit in 3rd place with a 2-6 record behind the Eagles and ahead of the Redskins.

Texans 20 , Colts 17

Texans vs Colts: Good, bad and ugly

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In a Thursday Night Football battle, the Texans edged out the Colts in 20-17 hard fought victory. Here's how I saw things play out:

The Good

-DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller re-established themselves as one of the best wide receiver duos in the league this game. 13 catches on 19 targets for a combined 234 yards and two touchdowns (both by Hopkins). Whenever Deshaun Watson has Hopkins on the short to intermediate stuff and Fuller stretching the field, it gives him more options in the pass game.

-Deshaun Watson completed 63.3% of his passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. While he did throw an inexplicable interception and took a sack, he still did enough to guide his team to a win. This kid is going to be a star and eventually lead his team to great things one day.

-The defense came up big against a division rival. Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney combined for 27 tackles, 19 of those were solo tackles. This wasn't an easy game. It was a grinder, and the defense deserves some love for their contribution.

The Bad

-Watson's interception in the 2nd quarter hurt their momentum. The Colts had just punted the ball to the Texans. With a 3-0 lead, they could've taken a two score lead with a touchdown drive. Instead, pressure up the middle tipped the pass and Colts corner Kenny Moore made a great play to pick it off. Sometimes good defense beats good offense.

-Back to back Colt possessions swung momentum back in their favor. At the end of the 1st half, the Texans gave up a field goal to tie the game at 10. To start the 2nd half, the Texans failed on a 4th&3 conversion. The Colts went on an 11 play drive (10 runs, one pass) and scored after Benardrick McKinney failed to make the tackle when he met Jonathan Williams in the gap.

-The Colts ran the ball 39 times for 175 yards at a 4.5 yard per carry clip. Losing the rushing yardage differential by -76, turnover game by -1, and time of possession by almost seven minutes is normally a recipe for a loss. These metrics need to be cleaned up moving forward, or else this team will be out early in the playoffs.

The Ugly

-The Colts convderted 9/15 of their 3rd down conversions. Giving up 60% on 3rd down conversions isn't what good football teams do. If the Texans expect to advance in the AFC playoff picture, they have some work to do as far as 3rd down conversion percentage.

-Dylan Cole went down with a calf injury in the 2nd quarter. He's not only one of their more athletic linebackers, he's alos the leading special teams tackler. Hopefully he's okay as this team, particularly the defense, has suffered enough injuries.

-After the field goal early in the 2nd quarter, I heard them playing "Football Time In Houston" by Clay Walker. Will they PLEASE get rid of that damn song?!? I'm sure there's a rap song they can use that's better. Hell, get a local band to do a rock song. Anything but that tired ass song!

Now that the Texans have won this game and firm control of the AFC South, they have about a 75% chance at making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Colts have only about a 20% chance to make it. The Texans have five games left: Patriots, Broncos, @Titans, @Bucs, and Titans. None of those teams pose a serious threat outside the Pats. Winning all these games would give them a 12-4 record and a shot at a first round bye depending on what happens with other teams. Winning this game puts them in the driver's seat in the AFC South, and helps them in the race for a first round bye. They'll need some out side help to get first round bye in the playoffs, but health is a major component moving forward. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. With the Pats coming into town next Sunday night, the Texans have a chance to make some noise in the AFC. Next week will be the new biggest game of the Bill O'Brien era.

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