The Cowboys are coming off a tough battle with the Detroit Lions. Matt Stafford and company made sure to give the boys a fight until the last moments of the game. However, Dallas made sure to get the final punch in that fight, as kicker Brett Maher hit a game winner in the closing seconds. Zeke had an outstanding performance on the ground that was a big factor in the game as well. This week they’ll need the same offense to show up against the Houston Texans. Today we’ll go through the biggest keys for Dallas on both offense and defense.
Protecting Dak Prescott
Over the last 2 games JJ Watt has looked like his prime form as he’s racked up 5 sacks. Jadeveon Clowney has also been a player to make some big plays as he has 2 sacks of his own. This Cowboys offensive line unit has started coming together more each week, but they gave up 3 sacks against the Detroit Lions last week. If Prescott can get more time in the pocket, it’ll allow him to take advantage of a weak secondary. Aaron Colvin has been playing through injury and Kevin Johnson is still out at their corner positions for Houston. Forcing the Texans to respect the passing game will only help out Elliott find more room in the ground game.
Containing Houston’s receiving core
Chido Awuzie had good coverage most of the game against the Lions this past week. However, it wasn’t enough as Detroit receivers continued to make plays on tight coverage. Golden Tate had a monster game hauling in 8 receptions for 132 yards, and 2 touchdowns. This week the Cowboys are facing a top tier receiver in Deandre “Nuk” Hopkins. Nuk is averaging over 100 yards per game under quarterback Deshaun Watson this year. Opposite of him is their lighting in a bottle, Will Fuller, whom has caught a touchdown in each game he’s played in this season. He’s also the guy that extends the field and will press for guys like Xavier Woods, or Jeff Heath to be more vigilant of the deep ball. The Cowboys secondary will have their hands full, so a lot will depend on how coach Richard decides to call this defense.
This will be a tougher game than most match-ups due to the rivalry between these two teams. Houston and Dallas have a historic rivalry which will make this a great game for fans. If the Cowboys can win on these keys, they should be able to continue their winning streak.
Deandre Hopkins picture: therecordlive.com
Byron Jones picture: Dallas Morning News