Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON – In a state where football is king, the two NFL tenants will be squaring off for only the fifth time when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Houston Texans on Sunday night. Both teams are coming off much-needed — and dramatic — wins, as Houston beat Indianapolis in overtime for its first victory while Dallas topped Detroit on a last-second field goal.
“I think it’s fun and interesting for everybody,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the intrastate matchup. “Obviously football is so big in the state of Texas and these are the two teams that are playing pro football here in the state. We’ve got great respect for their organization, for their coaches and their players. That’s really what we’re focused on.” Dallas has won the past three against the Texans, although the teams last met four years ago, but the Cowboys have dropped both games away from home this season. Houston halted a nine-game losing streak dating to last season by outlasting the Colts 37-34 and coach Bill O’Brien said his team must carry over the momentum to this week. “It’s a long season. We have to do a good job of not riding the wave,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got to do a good job of continuing to build and get better because it’s a very long season. Nothing has been determined yet.”
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Texans -3.5. O/U: 45.5
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-2): Dallas returned to the formula that produced a 13-3 record in 2016 by featuring a heavy dose of running back Ezekiel Elliott, who piled up a career-best 240 yards from scrimmage last week. Elliott took over the league rushing lead by carrying 25 times for 152 yards and adding 88 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, including a 34-yard pass to set up the winning field goal. Dak Prescott threw for a season-high 255 yards and two TDs, connecting with leading receiver Cole Beasley four times. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence matched his career high with 3.0 sacks against the Lions, giving him an NFL-leading total of 5.5.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (1-3): Deshaun Watson struggled in the season opener at New England, but he registered his third straight 300-yard game last week, throwing for 375 yards and two touchdowns while adding 41 yards rushing and another score. However, Watson also absorbed seven sacks and has been taken down 17 times through the first four games. DeAndre Hopkins had another monster game with 10 catches for 169 yards and a score while Keke Coutee had 11 receptions for 109 yards in his NFL debut. Houston revved up its pass rush, getting two sacks apiece from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week.
1. Hopkins has 11 touchdown catches in his past nine home games.
2. Elliott tied Jim Brown as the second-fastest player to rush for 3,000 yards, needing 29 games to hit the milestone.
3. Texans RB Lamar Miller (chest) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.