THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys win 3 in a row; Saints up next

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

 

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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