The Dallas Cowboys have been struggling on the offensive side of the football, mostly because they didn't manage to bolster their receiving corps in the off-season. The Houston Texans have gotten out of the starting blocks slowly, but they hope that last week's rather fortuitous victory might give them a kick start. These teams meet up at NRG Stadium in the NBC-televised Sunday night football game, which begins at 8:20 PM ET. Remember that you can get better odds through reduced juice if you are signed up with BetAnySports.
For Dallas, it's been kind of a drab offense, as Dak Prescott is averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt. There is indeed that reliable option in the backfield, as Ezekiel Elliott has been very solid, averaging 5.8 yards per carry (426 yards total). But these receivers have been very uninspiring. The Cowboys cut Dez Bryant loose in the off-season, and also experienced the retirement of dependable tight end Jason Witten. But they have really failed to fill those voids. The result is an offense that has converted only 28.3% on third down this season, and only two NFL teams have been worse than that.
The Texans have gotten off to a very rough start, as they figured out ways to lose their first three games. But last week they caught a break, as a big gamble by Indianapolis coach Frank Reich with the clock winding down in overtime failed on a fourth and two, giving Houston the ball and paving the way to a game-winning field goal. In that contest, DeShaun Watson threw for 375 yards, and that was obviously a huge source of encouragement. One of the pleasant surprises was wide receiver Keke Coutee, who hauled in eleven passes for 108 yards.
In the Sunday night football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Texans are favored at home:
Houston Texans -3 (-120)
Dallas Cowboys +3 (+100)
Over 45.5 points -110
Under 45.5 points -110
Obviously we know how mobile Watson can be, but still, he's been sacked 17 times on the season. The Dallas defense has five quarterback sacks, 5.5 of them by DeMarcus Lawrence, and they welcome David Irving back into the lineup after a suspension. Dallas is allowing opponents only 3.6 yards per carry, but at the same time also 44.6% success on third downs. And they have no interceptions. They'll be without the injured Sean Lee this week, and the linebacker has often made the difference between winning and/or covering and losing, as Dallas is 1-5 ATS without him.
Coutee, a rookie out of Texas Tech who caught 93 passes for 1429 yards for the Red Raiders last season, had been bothered by a hamstring and missed the first three games, and he is a game-time decision for this one. Another guy with a hamstring issue, speedster Will Fuller, should play in this one. He's a guy who can genuinely stretch the field, averaging 15.5 yards per catch (with three touchdowns). Somebody has to deflect attention away from DeAndre Hopkins (443 yards).
Houston's defense has been very strong against the run (3.5 yards a carry allowed) and has 11 sacks, five of them by JJ Watt, who had all of those in the last two weeks. However, the Texans are 27th in the NFL in red zone defense.
Neither one of these teams has performed particularly well in the red zone, but there would appear to be no doubt that Houston's offense can stretch out the field much better. And if it is indeed true that the Cowboys are not the same defensively without we (all the indications are that they aren't), that would give us enough impetus to lay the points with the home squad in this one.
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