THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys win 4 in a row; Eagles up next

The Cowboys have won four in a row. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (7-5) won their fourth game in a row Thursday night when they defeated the New Orleans Saints (10-2) by the score of 13-10.  This is their third game in a row where they scored on their opening possession and never trailed the rest of the game.

Dallas held one of the best offenses in the league to only 10 points and now ESPN Stats & information give them an 80.2 % chance of reaching the playoffs.  They played great defense and held the Saints to nine possessions by controlling the ball. The Cowboys had the ball for 36 minutes and 53 seconds of game.

The Cowboys defense was swarming all game long.  They didn’t allow the Saints to pick up a first down until their third possession of the game.  Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were the top two leading tacklers and combined for 19 total (both had 6 solo).  They kept constant pressure on Drew Brees and caused him to start a game 0-for-4 passing for the first time in his 18 year NFL career.  

With the Cowboys defense keeping the Saints from moving the ball, the offense was able to grind out first downs and keep the Saints offense off the field.  Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott touched the ball 29 times. He had 23 carries for 76 yards, 6 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Dak Prescott was very efficient and went 24 of 28 for 248 yards and one touchdown.  He also ran the ball five times for 22 yards. He connected with superstar receiver Amari Cooper 8 times for 75 yards and was also able to find rookie receiver Michael Gallup on a 40 yard pass.

The Cowboys play calling and execution on both sides of the ball was excellent all game long.  They had a great mix of run/pass plays and it seemed like they were running plays out of the Saints playbook.   If they keep this up they could have a chance to make a real run in the playoffs.

With the win, the Cowboys now have a 76.9 % chance of winning the NFC East according to ESPN Football Power Index.  Dallas can basically clinch the division with a win against the Eagles on Sunday.

Players to Watch

  1. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): After week 13 Zeke is the NFL’s second leading rusher.  He is 25 yards behind Todd Gurley.  He might have a hard time finding some running lanes as the Eagles are the 10th best rushing defense in the league.  The Cowboys night need to get creative and get him the ball on some screens and swing passes.  

  2. Michael Gallup (wide Receiver): Had his best game of the year last week and led the team with 76 receiving yards on 5 catches.  He looks to have good chemistry with Dak and had an opportunity to take advantage of Philadelphia’s 26th ranked pass defense.  

  3. Leighton Vander Esch (Linebacker): Dallas’ best defensive player is going to have to come up big and guard the middle of the field against Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz who torched them earlier this season for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys (7-5) will be hosting their division rival Philadelphia (6-6) in which the winner will almost be guaranteed to win the NFC East division.  Kickoff is set for 3:35 pm CST at AT&T; Stadium in Arlington, TX (AKA: Jerry’s World). Both teams are coming off wins this past week and the Cowboys are going to have to be prepared because games against the Eagles are always a struggle but if they keep playing the way they have been playing they should be able to win a fifth game in a row.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys:  Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB)

Eagles:  Carson Wentz (QB), Zach Ertz (TE)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are -3.5 and the over/under is 43.  With the Cowboys defense playing so well recently, I would lean Dallas on this one but only if you can get -3 or less.  

 

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are now 9-4. They're also still in control of their own destiny as far as the AFC South is concerned. Yet, people are acting like things have gone down the shitter. There are three games left in the season! They still have a shot at the number two seed in the AFC! WHY THE HELL ARE FANS PANICKING?!?

I get it. Fans aren't happy with the 24-21 loss to hated division rival Colts. They aren't happy the nine game win streak is over. And they have every right to be pissed the team blew a chance at the number two seed in the AFC given that the Patriots wet the bed against the Dolphins.

But what are fans going to do about it? Cry? Sulk? Raise holy hell on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Snap Crap (John Granato voice)? No dammit! Pull yourselves up by your boot straps! Wipe the sissy tears from your eyes and remember that you've been through worse!

This is the same/similar fan base that has gone through the six years of purgatory without a team to call their own due to Bud Adams' greed. Remember, you had to sit back and watch as that team left town, relocated in Nashville, kept your team history, records, colors, eventually changed names, and watched that crotchety old man make a mockery of the whole situation, especially when they made it to Super Bowl.

You're better than this Houston! Remember when Tracy Mc Grady scored 13 points in 33 seconds against the hated Spurs? Remember when Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to back to back title runs when Michael Jordan was retired? (Yeah Houston. I went there and said it like that. Sue me!) Remember when the Astros lost 100 plus games every season and missing the playoffs? Remember when the Rockets couldn't make the playoffs and were mired in mediocrity? Remember when the Dynamo were a flash in the pan and went back to relative anonymity?

This Texans team may have its flaws, but it's not without its lovable spots. Sure, Bill O'Brien may be an A hole of a coach and Deshaun Watson may be a brain fart away from losing a close game for this team, but there's more to be happy about.

When things looked bleak at 0-3, the Texans went on a nine game win streak that put them firmly in control of the division and a playoff berth. They take one loss and now some of you so-called "fans" are in full-blown panic mode! CALM DOWN! Remember what you've been through and the resiliency you've built up over the years!

You've endured the Bills debacle, no team for six years, David Carr, and Matt Schaub! This is like telling people without kids to become parent of the year nominees. You are totally forgetting who you are, what you have been through, and how tough it can be being a Texan fan. I find it funny that the same fans that say this is their team are the same ones that go into full-blown panic mode at the first hint of trouble. Relax guys. After all, you could be a Browns fan.

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