The Cowboys Report

Cowboys win 2 in a row; playoff matchup with Seahawks up next

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are in the playoffs. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (10-6) beat their divisional rival New York Giants (5-11) in a close game on Sunday by the score of 36-35. Even though the Cowboys couldn't improve their playoff position they played hard the entire game and came away with a last minute come-from-behind win.

Dallas sat several key players like the NFL's leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott, offensive lineman Zach Martin, and Tyron Smith (OL), which opened the door for other players to show off their talent. Despite Zeke sitting out the game, he still wound up winning the rushing title with 1,434 yards. Rookie Saquon Barkley ended up second with 1,307 yards and Todd Gurley was third with 1,251 yards as he also sat out his game on Sunday.

Quarterback Dak Prescott played the entire game and ended up going 27 of 44 for 387 yards, 4 touchdowns, and NO turnovers. With Elliott out of the game, the Cowboys were relying on back up running back Rod Smith to carry the load.That did not work well, which led to Prescott throwing the ball over 40 times.He connected with nine different players, most notably tight end Blake Jarwin who caught seven balls for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Jarwin has come on as of late as he has taken over for the injured starting tight end Geoff Swaim. He has had 20 catches over the last four games for a little over 300 yards.

Once again, the Cowboys defense was great. They held to Giants to seven points in the first half before they put it in cruise mode. They caused two turnovers and one sack. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch led the team in tackles again with nine (three solo) but left the game early in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury and luckily has turned out to be a shin bruise.

With Dallas locked into the four seed, they will be hosting the five seed Seattle Seahawks this weekend. If the Cowboys win, their next game all depends on what happens in the Eagles vs Bears game. If the Bears win, Dallas will be heading to New Orleans to play the Saints in the divisional round. If the Eagles win, Dallas will be going to Los Angeles to play the Rams.

3 Players to Watch

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running back): The NFL's 2018 rushing title winner has a semi-favorable matchup this week. Seattle is the 13th best rushing defense and Zeke could exploit that if the Cowboys can get him the ball on good play calls.

2.Leighton Vander Esch (Linebacker): Finished the season as the NFL's third leading tackler with 140. He is going to have his hands full this week as he will be going against Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson and the No. 1 rushing offense in the league.

3.Blake Jarwin (Tight end): This second year player out of Oklahoma State seems to have good chemistry with Prescott and looks to be his security blanket. He has been the Cowboys leading pass catcher in two of the last three games and could be in for another big day as he goes against Seattle's 17th ranked passing defense.

The Cowboys (10-6) will be hosting the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (AKA:Jerry's World). Kickoff is set for 7:15 pm Central time and looks to be one of the better games of the weekend. Both teams play the same type of style, they both are run heavy offenses that occasionally take deep shots down the field on play action fakes and rely on the defenses to keep them in games.This game is going to come down to whichever quarterback plays best and doesn't turn the ball over.

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are -2.5 and the over/under is 43.5. With the Cowboys being 7-1 at home this season and Seattle usually not being as good on the road as they are at home, I would play Dallas at any number 3 or under.

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Accountability seems to be lacking. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Did you catch exiled Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, starting his "Redemption Tour 2020," doing his best imitation of Sgt. Schultz from the classic sitcom Hogan's Heroes?

"I see nothing. I hear nothing."

Luhnow sat for 37 minutes (the extended director's cut on click2houston.com) with Channel 2 sports reporter Vanessa Richardson and insisted that he played no part in the Astros 2017-18 illegal sign-stealing operation, and didn't deserve to be suspended for one year by baseball, and ultimately fired by Astros owner Jim Crane.

"I didn't know."

"I wasn't aware."

"I wasn't involved."

"Had I known about it, I would have stopped it."

"I was punished for something I didn't do."

Remember, Luhnow wasn't just the Astros general manager, he also held the title of President of Baseball Operations, responsible for every action that took place at Minute Maid Park, on the field, in the dugout, clubhouse, bullpen and boardroom.

Everybody else seemed to know, including field manager A.J. Hinch, who admitted that he knew the Astros were cheating, tried to stop it, but couldn't.

That's some leadership that Astros had in 2017-18. A manager who couldn't get his players to stop cheating, and a general manager who claims he didn't know. The inmates truly were running the asylum.

If Luhnow is telling the truth, that makes him one monkey who saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil.

On one hand, Luhnow takes credit for building a supremely gifted Astros team that has made four consecutive American League Championship Series, won two American League pennants, and captured Houston's first World Series title in 2017.

One commercial break later, he's swearing that he didn't have a clue that his team was committing baseball's crime of the century – which ultimately cost the Astros their manager, general manager, a $5 million fine, and four draft picks.

Which is it, was Luhnow a detached genius, incredibly naïve or unfortunate scapegoat?

Luhnow claimed that an honest investigation by MLB would have determined that he was merely an innocent bystander to the scandal. He told baseball commissioner Rob Manfred that he was willing to take a lie detector test to prove it, but Manfred declined his offer.

OK, Manfred said a lie detector test wasn't necessary. Why didn't Luhnow do it anyway? It might have helped mitigate some of his sentence.

Put it this way, I work at Gow Media World Headquarters in Houston. If the boss brought me into his office and said he was firing me because I was stealing equipment, or missing deadlines or harassing other employees … and I was innocent, I holler to the high heavens that I was fired unjustly. I'd hire Jim Adler, the Tough Texas Lawyer, to sue everybody who ever touched a baseball for wrongful termination, defamation of character and a hundred other things. I wouldn't take a called third strike and wait 10 months to speak up.

Right now, Luhnow's once-brilliant reputation is sullied. He's on the outside of baseball looking in. Luhnow's protestation of innocence reminds me of Jose Canseco's book, Juiced, in 2005, where the slugger claimed that steroid use was rampant in the big leagues. And he named names.

Accused players bleated that they were innocent, that Canseco was a bad apple who made up stories to cover his own use of banned drugs.

Here's when I knew that Canseco, while a rat, was right – when the accused steroid users screamed bloody murder, but didn't sue Canseco. If somebody accused you of a crime that you didn't commit, a crime that cost you your job and legacy, a crime that might keep you out of the Hall of Fame of your profession, would you stay silent for almost a year and take the punishment lying down?

We may never know if Luhnow knew or didn't know that his Astros were cheating. It's possible that he's telling the truth now. His teary-eyed interview was convincing in parts. But accepting punishment for something you didn't do, and not fighting back – it's not a good look.

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