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Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys: Week 5: Three things to watch

Calvin Crawford

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The Houston Texans will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys in a interstate matchup of the ages. What are three things you should watch for? Take a look and find out to be informed to the utmost.

Texans vs. Cowboys
My bookie line – Texans -3
Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7:20 p.m. CDT on NBC

The Houston Texans are no longer among the fray of winless teams after knocking off the Indianapolis Colts last week in overtime but they had to make it very interesting before doing so. This week, America’s Team in the Dallas Cowboys come to town in a Lone Star State Battle under the Sunday Night Lights. The Cowboys are 2-2 on the season after a walk-off field goal last week to defeat the Detroit Lions in Jerry World. These two teams met in Week 4 of the preseason but neither team showed much of anything to warrant an advantage. The Governor’s Cup and state bragging rights are on the line for the next four years (one could wish a Super Bowl matchup before the 2022 season) so let’s preview game matchups, fantasy outlook and who you should bet on for this Texas Two Step.

1) Matchups to watch for

DeMarcus Lawrence/Taco Charlton vs. Kendall Lamm/Martinas Rankin

Deshaun Watson has been sacked 17 times this year, second highest in the league behind Buffalo Bills’ rookie Josh Allen. Although he did admit that he does hold the ball too long and most of the sacks are on him, NFL sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence is coming to town and will be across from right tackle Kendall Lamm, while Taco Charlton will be across from rookie LT Martinas Rankin; defensive end David Irving may be back this week for Dallas as well after a suspension.

I imagine Bill O’Brien will develop a game plan to help these tackles, most likely with tight ends Ryan Griffin and both Jordans’ chipping these ends before they run their routes. Watson does most of his damage scrambling and getting out on the edges, so we’ll see how successful he’ll be against this Dallas front.

Cowboys’ O-Line/Ezekiel Elliott vs. Houston’s front seven

It’s no secret that Dallas’ game plan these last several seasons has been to run the ball successfully and control the clock, so by the 4th quarter, the opposing defense is worn out. They employ one of the best offensive lines in football and running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing through the first quarter of the season; it helped that he had 240 yards of total offense last week against the Detroit Lions.

The Cowboys are not built nor good enough to be one-dimensional and throw the ball all over the field if the run game is not there. So if J.J. Watt and company can stuff the run and force 3rd and longs on drives, they should be successful in getting off the field. The Texans are 10th in the league in rushing yards allowed with 94 a game and have given up one rushing touchdown through four games.  Dallas is 3rd in the league in rushing yards with an average of 145 yards a game. Something’s gotta give on Sunday night.

Both groups of Wide Receivers vs. Secondary

With Keke Coutee (wreck’em) statistically having the best debut ever of any wide receiver, this Texans’ group of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Coutee are now certified lethal. Fuller has popped back up on the injury list this week but if he’s gonna go Sunday night then Dallas has to respect that deep threat, with Hopkins over the middle and Coutee underneath. This Cowboys’ secondary doesn’t have any big names, except maybe Byron Jones and Jeff Heath but they play hard and are well-coached. However, they did contain the New York Giants which the Texans could not do. On the other side, you can say the weakest spot beside the offensive line on this Texans’ squad is their secondary.

They rank 27th in the league in passing defense in terms of yards given up, and they made Andrew Luck look like the Andrew Luck of old with a 40-for-62, 464-yard and four touchdown line last week. The good news is the Cowboys’ passing offense is 29th in the league and Dak Prescott gets 200 yards passing once in a blue moon. They were successful in taking some deep shots last week against the Lions, so we’ll see if they try to exploit this Houston defense throwing down the field early.

2) Fantasy outlook

Dallas: Ezekiel Elliott for obvious reasons and kicker Brett Maher, who has had at least eight points three weeks in a row, including 15 last week against Detroit.

Houston: Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keke Coutee, and Will Fuller if he’s healthy. This starting trio turned into a foursome after last week. You have to love the volume that Coutee was seeing, especially when Watson would escape the pocket and find him on the scramble drill; Fuller continued his streak of a touchdown in every game with Watson, even though he only had four catches for 49 yards against the Colts.  Hopkins proved yet again he’s a top-five receiver in this league, if not higher. And you can stream Ka’imi Fairbairn if you’re in a deeper league; he’s had 12 and 14 points, respectively, these last two games.

3) Gambling advice

The line moved constantly last week against the Colts, with Houston being +1.5 or -1.5 depending on the hour. They covered either way, having come out on top by three points. It was the first game all season I did not bet on Houston whatsoever, and of course, they cover AND win. Houston should be favored until the game begins, simply because they’re at home. If Indianapolis didn’t make that comeback and Houston went on to win by double digits, I would be all over Houston in this game.

I am still leaning toward that way simply because Dallas’ offense does not travel well; they have averaged 10.5 points in two road games so far this season. Speaking of points, the over/under currently is at 45.5. There’s really no reason why this over should not hit; if Houston can come close to its 37-point output from last week and Dallas gets 10 or 14 points, then it hits. I like Houston -3 and will be going back and forth with the over/under all week just because I still don’t trust any consistency with the Texans.

We’re already a quarter through the 2018 season and it feels like yesterday when we were discussing cuts after training camp. Win or lose, we need to enjoy this season each week because before we know it, it will be gone. If this Texans’ defense can play a whole game and the offense, in turn, can average near 30 points, then this team is still very much alive.

Do you agree?  Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Follow me on Twitter: @billybobcalvin

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

I graduated from Texas Tech University in the Spring of 2016 with a degree in Sport Management, as in I had no idea what I wanted to do but wanted to be around sports. I’ve always have had a rooting interest in the Texans as they have been secretly consistent these past few years, making the playoffs four times in seven seasons since I was a freshman in college in 2011. I am currently a student at Texas Chiropractic College getting my doctorate in chiropractic, and my medical background has been very helpful covering the NFL and the Texans.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Brian K. Patterson

Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans.  After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.

The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.

While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.

Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.

In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.

His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.

An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.

Ronald Darby and Lamarcus Joyner are the best players available in free agency that can cover receivers in the slot and both players should be targeted by Bill O’Brien.

The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment in the section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season?  Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant.  What’s the best way to improve the offensive line?  Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?

How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard?  The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time.  What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season?  They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue.  Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish.  Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility?  Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?

The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move.  Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL.   What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

 

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