Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
By: Athlon Sports | 9/24/10, 4:41 PM EDT
The battle of the Texas teams is hardly a rivalry to anyone outside of Houston, but this one is huge for Texans fans everywhere.
The Cowboys were thumped 23–7 at Reliant Stadium in a meaningless preseason game less than a month ago, and not much has changed since — the Texans are still rolling and the Cowboys are still struggling to live up to their offseason hype.
Keys for the Texans
• Left tackle Duane Brown, who protects quarterback Matt Schaub’s blind side, has joined linebacker Brian Cushing on the list of players suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. With one of the league’s best pass-rushers in Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware visiting, the suspension couldn’t come at a worse time for the Texans.
• Defense. It’s no secret that the Texans have won their games by putting up 32 points per game, which leads the league. Either by running or passing, the points will come. But the Texans’ secondary will have to hold quarterback Tony Romo to under 400 yards, which it failed to do against Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb.
Keys for the Cowboys
• Just score already. The Cowboys rank fourth in the league with 395 yards per game but rank only 26th in scoring with just 13.5 points per game. The running game has been largely unsuccessful at 69.5 yards per game, but against an inexperienced Texans secondary, that won’t be as big of an issue if Romo can take control.
• The secondary will have to be pesky against the Texans passing game. Over his career, Schaub is 11–20 in games in which he throws an interception. The Cowboys figure to do their best to slow down Arian Foster, the league’s leading rusher, which will put pressure on the back line to do its job.
The 2–0 Texans are riding high. The 0–2 Cowboys are not. All the pressure is on Dallas, which is staring at a seemingly insurmountable 0–3 record if it fails to win at Reliant Stadium. Expect a solid effort from the Cowboys, but the Texans simply have too many weapons. Texans 24–13.