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Dallas Cowboys (3-1 SU, 2-1-1 ATS, 2-2 O/U) vs. Houston Texans (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS, 2-1 O/U)
NFL: Thursday, August 31, 2017, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, 8 pm ET
Spread: N/A; Over/Under: N/A
It’s an inter-conference matchup between a pair of teams from the Lone Star State in a week 4 preseason matchup in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys are on the road as they are slated to face the Houston Texans Thursday night. Dallas knocked off Oakland 24-20 at home Saturday for their second straight win. Houston was blanked 13-0 on the road by New Orleans Saturday in their week 3 preseason matchup. The Cowboys hold a 3-1 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams, including a 20-17 overtime home win in the last meeting on October 5, 2014.
Dallas Cowboys Prepped for Regular Season
Dallas rallied from a 20-10 deficit after three quarters by outscoring the Raiders 14-0 in the final stanza to get the win. The Cowboys outgained the Raiders 344-279 in the game while winning the first down battle 21-14 and controlling time of possession by a 31:50 to 28:10 margin in the contest. Dallas did commit the lone turnover of the game, which the Raiders immediately converted into seven points on a fumble return. The Cowboys suffered a blow as linebacker Anthony Hitchens sustained a tibial plateau fracture and will miss at least eight weeks.
Dak Prescott completed 11 of 14 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown before taking a seat on the bench. Kellen Moore completed two of four throws for 10 yards while Cooper Rush hit 12 of 13 throws for 115 yards and two scores. Alfred Morris led the Cowboys with nine carries for 56 yards while Darren McFadden chipped in 21 yards on his two carries. Ezekiel Elliott made his preseason debut, carrying the ball six times for 18 yards. He’s suspended for the first six games due to a domestic violence incident though he is appealing. Jason Witten led the Cowboys with six receptions for 74 yards and a score. Ronnie Hillman (four grabs, 23 yards) and Lance Lenoir (two receptions, 49 yards) each caught touchdown passes as well. Dan Bailey hit his lone field goal attempt, connecting from 42 yards.
Houston Texans Sputtering Offensively
Houston was pounded by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, leaving the city under a ton of water. That leaves the location for this contest up in the air as the conditions in the city are dismal at the moment. Houston did next to nothing in the game against New Orleans as they were blanked. The Texans lost the total yardage battle 315-246 in the game while dropping the first down battle 15-13. Houston failed to penetrate deeper than the Saints’ 43 yard line in the contest as they sputtered throughout the game.
Tom Savage completed 10 of 16 passes for 79 yards in the game while first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson completed 11 of 21 throws for 116 yards and an interception. Brandon Weeden finished two of five for 16 yards. The run game went nowhere as the team combined to run the ball 21 times for 57 yards. Dare Ogbunwale led the Texans with seven carries for 15 yards while Lamar Miller had three carries for 14 yards. Bruce Ellington led the team with four receptions for 29 yards in the game while Tyler Ervin (17 yards) and Dres Anderson (26 yards) each had three catches. Shane Lechler had a busy night for the Texans as he punted 10 times in the contest, averaging 46.5 yards per kick.
- No Key Trends
- Texans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Texans are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games
The Texans are struggling to generate offense regardless of which quarterback is on the field. Savage is still supposed to be the starter at quarterback but if the offense fails to put points on the board, there will be pressure from the fan base to put Watson on the field. Dallas is hoping that Elliott’s suspension will be shortened or thrown out completely though they have quality depth at the position and one of the league’s top offensive lines. This one may end up being played elsewhere or wiped out altogether. In the end, the Cowboys are the better team right now and they get the win.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys
The Texans have had their problems on the offensive side of the ball this season. Houston is going to have to figure some things out if they plan on having any success this season, especially with Tennessee improving in the AFC South. Dallas’s biggest issue, other than a possible regression for Prescott, are the legal issues surrounding Elliott and what happens with him going forward as far as his appeal. Fortunately, McFadden and Morris have both rushed for 1,000 yards in a season at this level before and the Cowboys may have the best line in the league.
The under is 14-3 in the Cowboys’ last 17 road games. Houston has seen the under go 9-4 in their last 13 at home. The teams have stayed under the total in each of their four previous meetings. With that in mind, you have to think that this one will be a lower scoring affair as well. Look for this one to fall short of the expected total.