Zeke Elliot has been a beast for the Cowboys. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
The Dallas Cowboys (6-5) are on a three game winning streak after defeating the Washington Redskins (6-5) by the score of 31-23 and taking over first place of the NFC East on Thanksgiving Day.
Once again, they had a solid game plan with a good mix of run and pass plays. For the second game in a row they took their opening possession for a 10-plus play scoring drive, this one ended with an Ezekiel Elliott rushing touchdown. Head coach Jason Garrett has finally realized that they must get to ball to their best players if they want to win.
Elliott touched the ball 31 times which amounted to 26 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown as well as five catches for 22 yards. With the Redskins defense having to worry about Zeke; Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper was able to have his best game as a Cowboy. He had eight catches on nine targets for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Most notably was a 90 yard catch and run towards the end of the 3rd quarter.
With the Cowboys offense clicking on all cylinders, Quarterback Dak Prescott was 22 of 31 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and NO turnovers! He looked for Cooper early and often as well as completing passes to 8 other players. Prescott also capitalized on his running ability by rushing in for a touchdown down on the goaline early in the 4th quarter to put the Cowboys up 31-13.
The Dallas defense played great as well. They held the Redskins to 80 yards rushing, intercepted Colt McCoy three times and had three sacks. Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was tied for the team lead in tackles with nine (seven solo).
With the win, the Cowboys are ahead of Washington via a better divisional record but they still have to keep winning. They are going to have their hands full this week as the host the New Orleans Saints (10-1).
Players to Watch
Ezekiel Elliott (running back): Zeke is now the NFL’s leading rusher and has big load to carry on his shoulders this week. He will be going against the #1 rushing defense in the league. The Saints have only given up 805 rushing yards this season.
Dak Prescott (quarterback): Is going to have to throw the ball quite a bit to keep pace with the No. 1 scoring offense in the league. Luckily, the Saints are ranked 30th in pass defense and he should be able to connect with Cooper for more big plays.
Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods, and Jeff Heath (defensive secondary): These guys are going to have to be up to the challenge and make big plays against Drew Brees and the high scoring Saints offense.
Thursday night the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) will be hosting the New Orleans Saints (10-1) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and kickoff is set for 7:20 pm CST. Dallas is facing their best opponent left on their schedule and could have trouble keeping up with New Orleans. They are going to have to try and control the clock and minimize the number of times MVP candidate Drew Brees has the ball. If they can get Elliott and Cooper plenty of touches they could have a good chance at getting another win.
If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:
Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB)
New Orleans: Drew Brees (QB), Alvin Kamara (RB), Mark Ingram (RB), Michael Thomas (WR)
For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are +7.5 and the over/under is 53. The Saints have won their last five games by double digits. If you play anything, I think the right side would be New Orleans.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.