Houston vs. Dallas
by Robb Moore
My preseason prediction for the Texans was 8-8, give or take a win. I still think that’s where they’re going to end up. The quarterback play has been very ho-hum but, as anyone who watched the 23-17 win over Buffalo can attest, when you have J.J. Watt, any game is win-able.
My preseason prediction for the Cowboys was 5-11, give or take a win. It looks like I’m going to be very wrong about that one. The Cowboys are running the ball better than I ever imagined they would. I didn’t even think they’d try to run as much as they have so far.
And that brings us to this weeks game. Houston at Dallas. The Texas Bowl. It happens every 5 years and this game should be a battle. Houston is desperate to put last years 2-14 record far behind them and Dallas is trying to fix 15+ years of mediocrity. Both teams are on their way to doing just that.
Keys to winning:
1. Stop the run – Dallas is the #1 rushing team in the NFL. Demarco Murray is averaging 133.5 yards per game. The Texans MUST slow him down.
2. Take some shots downfield – The Cowboys secondary is depleted because of injuries and, well, just not being very good in general. Fitzpatrick is going to need to throw the deep ball to keep the defense honest.
3. Possession – The Texans will need to win the time of possession battle. That means, they need to establish the run early and often.
1. Line of Scrimmage – The Cowboys have been very good at controlling the line this year so far, thanks to 3 first round draft picks the last 3 years. That won’t be easy to do this week against a defensive front that stars J.J. Watt. And, it’ll be even harder if Clowney dresses.
2. Keep Tony Romo upright – The Texans can get to the quarterback in a big way. For Dallas to have a chance in this game, They will have to do a great job in pass protection.
3. Possession – Like the Texans, Dallas will need to control the clock. If the O-Line keeps playing the way they have been this season, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Dallas 28 – Houston 17
It’s been hard for me to “get into” the Astros ever since Uncle Drayton sold the team to Jim Crane a couple of years ago. As with most Houston baseball fans, I had grown tired of the former owner and general manager Ed Wade’s seeming lack of interest in fielding a competitive team and strange desire for silly trades. But the thing that really didn’t settle well with me was the move from the NL to the AL. You see, in my eyes, the NL is just far superior (the pitchers must hit, etc.) to that other league. But, I digress…
As soon as the sale was final I was expecting big things from the new ownership. The club needed a new manager, new bench coaches, upgrades in the field, upgrades everywhere really. In situations like the Astros were in (sucking for years and not much of an attraction for big name free agents) it’s pretty common for the new GM to look to the farm system and the young talent for immediate help on the field.
I was expecting a “big name” for the new skipper. Maybe a Jim Leyland, a Bobby Cox, or maybe even a former player like Craig Biggio. They hired Bo Porter. Um… Who? They also hired Jeff Luhnow to be the new GM. Again… Who?
Well, it seems the joke might be on me. As of late, the youngsters the club have fielded are starting to play good ball. This is one of the numerous things Drayton never seemed to understand about baseball. LET THE YOUNGSTERS PLAY. Especially if you, as the owner, don’t want to shell out the cash for big name free agents.
George Springer, the Astros 1st round pick in 2011, is hitting .240 with 16 HR’s and 43 RBI’s after his April call up to the big club. Jon Singleton has shown that his bat has some pop. He strikes out too much but with good coaching, that can be corrected. A couple of days ago, 2nd baseman Kike Hernandez was called up too. He already has 3 hits in 5 at bats including his 1st MLB home run. This team may suck right now but they are young and they’re having fun doing it. And I must admit…it’s fun to watch them have fun. Isn’t baseball supposed to be fun?
Crane wants to build a winning ball club. At least that’s the way it seems right now.