Zeke Elliot and the Cowboys got a nice win. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
The Dallas Cowboys (1-1) beat their division rival the New York Giants by the score of 20-13 on Sunday night. The final score might make it seem like it was a close game, but it was not. The Cowboy defense DOMINATED the Giants.
Quarterback Dak Prescott got the team started off right with a 64 yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the third play of the game. With the defense keying on Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott faked a handoff to him and hit Austin right in stride on a fly pattern down the left sideline. Once they took that early lead, the Cowboys leaned on Elliott and played stout defense to lock up their first win of the year.
Prescott finished the game 16 of 25 for 160 yards one touchdown and NO turnovers. He also kept the team moving by rushing seven times for 45 yards to go along with Elliott’s 17 carries for 78 yards and a 4.6 average per carry. Elliott put the game away with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter when he ran up the middle for a 6 yard touchdown and a 20-3 lead. The Cowboys had a great game plan and kept a good balance between run and pass plays.
I am not sure what changed this week but the Cowboy offensive line played exceptionally well. They opened up holes for Elliott to run through and did not allow the Giant defense record any sacks. One small issue that could become a big problem later is, even without any pressure Prescott rarely had any open receivers. Austin was their leading receiver and he only caught one other ball after the long TD. Free agent acquisition Allen Hurns had one catch for 9 yards and the tight ends were nowhere to be found.
The main reason for the victory was the Dallas defense was on top of their game. They held rookie sensation Saquon Barkely to 28 yards rushing on 11 carries and held All Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to 4 catches for 51 yards on 9 targets. The front seven were swarming all night and sacked Giant quarterback Eli Manning six times and caused one fumble, which led to a third quarter field goal. The first score they allowed was a field goal late in the thirrd quarter before the game was out of reach and the only touchdown they allowed was late in the fourth quarter in garbage time.
3 Players to Watch
Tavon Austin (Wide Receiver), with only 2 catches on the season he is already the second leading receiver on the team with 79 yards. The 5’8 veteran has great speed and can be used in the backfield as a running back sometimes. Hopefully the coaching staff can figure out some more ways to get him in big play making positions down the field.
DeMarcus Lawrence (Defensive End), this 6’3 lineman is probably the Cowboys best player on defense and is proving it too. He has two sacks and three tackles for loss already this season. He will be an interesting watch as they will be going against four-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
Sean Lee (Linebacker), Is the heart and soul of this team. When he plays the Cowboys tend to give up 10 points less than if he doesn’t play. He injured his hamstring late in the game versus the Giants but will need to be on the field to keep Wilson in check on Sunday.
Sunday afternoon the Cowboys (1-1) will be in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington to take on the Seahawks (0-2) at 3:25 pm Central time. Both teams are very similar in the sense that they both don’t have any stellar pass catchers on the offensive side of the ball and rely on their average defenses to keep them in games.
The Cowboys are going to need their offensive line to play the same as last week and keep opening up holes for Elliott to run through. If that happens, hopefully somebody like Austin or maybe even Hurns can make a big catch down field to help keep the defense honest. On the defensive side, they are going to need to keep Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson from beating them because that is pretty much the only offense Seattle has. This could be a problem because he can beat them with his legs just as easily as he can with his arm. If you can remember Cam Newton beat Dallas basically by himself in Week 1. All in all, it should be one of the better games on Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to watch.
If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are Elliott and Wilson. Both kickers might not be bad plays either.
For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +1.5. With Seattle being 0-2 and this game pretty much being a must win, I would take Seattle at any number less than 3.
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.