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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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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