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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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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