THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys wreck the Rams; Eagles up next

The Dallas Cowboys (7-7) finally showed up to play for the first time in about a month. They cruised to an easy win over the Los Angeles Rams (8-6) on Sunday by the score of 44-21.

Recap

Once again Dallas started off with a 7-0 lead just like the last few weeks, but this time they stayed focused and continued scoring on their next four possessions. The defense really came up big and held Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley to only 20 yards rushing. They looked like a completely different team that had all phases of the game working for them (Offense, Defense, and Special Teams).

Quarterback Dak Prescott was only 15/23 for 212 yards, 2 touchdowns, and NO turnovers. The numbers are not as big as he usually puts up but that is OK because the Cowboys got the most important thing, the Win. Dak connected with 8 different receivers that included a one handed 19-yard touchdown catch from future Hall of Famer Jason Witten late in the 1st quarter. Super star wide receiver Amari Cooper and 2nd year receiver Michael Gallup only had 1 catch each for less than 20 yards and probably killed some fantasy teams as well (My team was one of them).

Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott had himself a "BIG" day! He ate up the Rams defense with 24 carries for 117 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 catches for 43 yards as well. Dallas leaned on its biggest offensive strength and ran the football. Backup running back Tony Pollard also had a great game as well. He carried the ball 12 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys finished the game with 263 rushing yards, which is a season high.

Now that Dallas has finally beaten a team with a winning record, they are 7-7 and have a 65.1% chance of winning the NFC East (according to ESPN's Football Power Index). They are currently ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) via tiebreaker but as long as they beat them this week, they will win the division.

3 Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke carried the team to victory this past week and is going to have to do it again this week. He will be going against the Eagles' 4th best rushing defense in the NFL. So look for Dallas to get him the ball on some passes out of the backfield.

2.Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver): Look for him to bounce back with a big game against a bad Eagles pass defense. Let's see if Dak can get him the ball down the field and maybe he can repeat his 100+ yard performance from their last matchup.

3.Kai Forbath (Kicker): Went perfect in his first regular season game as a Cowboy. He was 3/3 in field goals and made all 5 of his extra point attempts. It's amazing how well the offense does when it isn't killed by a missed kick. Let's see if he can keep the momentum going.

Coming Up

Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys (7-7) will be in the "City of Brotherly Love" taking on the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kickoff is set at 3:25 pm Central time. If the Cowboys win this game, they win the NFC East and will be the #4 seed in the playoffs. If they lose, they will have to beat the Redskins in week 17 and hope that the Giants beat the Eagles for them to win the division. The Eagles have been struggling as of late and have been hit with a ton of injuries. I expect Dak and Company to pull out a victory and get ready for a postseason run since it looks like they have finally figured things out.

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

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

Eagles: Carson Wentz (QB), Miles Sanders (RB), Zach Ertz (TE)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -2.5 and the over/under is 47.5. Dallas at -3 or less would be the play here. I don't think Philly has enough to compete due to their injury situation.

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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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