After a thrilling, last-second 26-24 victory over the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys turn their attention to their in-state rival, the Houston Texans. Houston is a team who has been extremely underwhelming thus far in 2018 but can hit a stride at any time. Hopefully, that stride doesn’t begin this weekend.
The Texans were gifted their first win of the season last Sunday by the Indianapolis Colts, after the Colts made a horrible decision to go for it on a fourth down in overtime. They failed miserably and set Houston up with great field position and allowed them to get the go-ahead field goal.
Houston’s star outside linebacker, Jadeveon Clowney had a sack on that drive to contribute to the eventual turnover on downs, and he is this week’s enemy profile player.
Clowney used his big day against the Colts to help earn himself AFC defensive player of the week, that is the first time that the former first overall pick earned player of the week honors.
His start to 2018 hasn’t been a great one, but after two sacks, four tackles, and a touchdown against Indianapolis it’s safe to say he might be starting to regain his all-pro status.
A dangerous aspect to Clowney’s game is that he can line up anywhere on the field and rush the quarterback. He can put his hand on the ground and rush the passer as a defensive lineman, but he’ll mostly be lined up as an outside linebacker. If he doesn’t have much success outside rushing Dak Prescott expect defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel to start rushing him up the middle.
The plan to slow down Clowney is a very simple one, gain yards on the ground.
Dallas is tied for the sixth most sacks allowed in the NFL this season according to ESPN (14). However, they didn’t allow a single sack against the Lions and rushed for a season-high 183 yards.
Safe to say, those two stats have to have some sort of correlation.
If Dallas is effective at running the ball it will take pressure off of the offensive line and not force the team into obvious passing situations on third downs.
After seeing what they were able to do against the Lions, maybe there’s some more hope for the Cowboys this week. The Texans have a much better rush defense than Detroit, but they haven’t faced a team that is as good at running the ball as the Cowboys this season. The Dallas ground game carries them once again, 24-20.
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