Cowboys eye repeat of double-digit Ws against hapless Texans

HOUSTON (1-10-1) at DALLAS (9-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, Fox


AGAINST THE SPREAD: Texans 4-7-1; Cowboys 8-4

SERIES RECORD: Cowboys lead 3-2

LAST MEETING: Texans won 19-16 in OT, Oct. 7, 2018, in Houston

LAST WEEK: Texans lost to Browns 27-14; Cowboys beat Colts 54-19





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Texans minus-6; Cowboys plus-9

TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Davis Mills will start after being benched two weeks ago for Kyle Allen. Coach Lovie Smith made the switch back after Allen had five turnovers combined in two starts, including two that were returned for scores against Cleveland. Mills, who is in his second season, has thrown 11 touchdowns with 11 interceptions this season.

COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Tony Pollard started in place of a healthy Ezekiel Elliott for the first time last week. Owner Jerry Jones said it was because of a minor disciplinary issue with Elliott, although coach Mike McCarthy declined to confirm that. Pollard has multiple touchdowns in three of the past five games. He has five touchdowns of at least 30 yards, most in a season in Dallas history. Pollard already has a career high with 852 yards rushing, and still leads all qualifying running backs in the NFL with a 5.8-yard average per carry.

KEY MATCHUP: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott vs. Texans CB Desmond King. Prescott has a long memory, particularly when it comes to mistakes, and King had a 90-yard interception return the only time he faced the Cowboys, with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017. Prescott was the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and playing without a suspended Elliott, at the time. Dallas lost 28-6 and went on to miss the playoffs a year after being the top seed in the NFC. Prescott's 13 interceptions in 2017 remain his career high. King had his first fumble recovery of the season last week.

KEY INJURIES: Texans CB Derek Stingley, the third overall pick in the draft, is likely to miss a fourth straight game with a hamstring strain. ... RB Rex Burkhead is likely to return after missing the Cleveland game while in concussion protocol. ... WR Brandin Cooks could miss this week’s game after sitting out against the Browns with a calf injury. ... Cowboys LT Tyron Smith opened his 21-day practice window this week. The eight-time Pro Bowler tore a hamstring during training camp. Although unlikely to play against the Texans, he could return next week against Jacksonville. ... CB Anthony Brown is out for the season after tearing an Achilles tendon against Indianapolis. Kelvin Joseph, who is supposed to start in his place, missed the first practice of the week with an illness. ... Rookie DE Sam Williams also was sidelined by illness to start the practice week.

SERIES NOTES: The Cowboys had perhaps the worst regular-season loss in 33 years with Jerry Jones as owner when the expansion Texans won their inaugural game in Houston in 2002. Dallas is 3-1 since, with Houston winning the most recent meeting.

STATS AND STUFF: Texans RB Dameon Pierce had 73 yards rushing last week to rebound after combining for just 16 yards in the previous two games. He leads all rookies with 1,026 scrimmage yards and 861 yards rushing. He is the fourth rookie in franchise history to accumulate 1,000 yards. ... WR Nico Collins had a touchdown reception last week and has had five or more catches in his past two road games. ... TE Jordan Akins has had at least 60 yards receiving in his past three road games. ... TE Brevin Jordan had a season-high 46 yards receiving last week. ... S Jalen Pitre led Houston with a career-best 16 tackles against Cleveland for the most by a rookie this season. He also had an interception to give him three this season. Pitre, who ranks second among rookies with 92 tackles, is the third rookie since 2000 to have at least 15 tackles and an interception in a game. ... The Cowboys can get to double-digit wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since the last of six in a row in 1996. ... Prescott has multiple TD passes in five consecutive games, one shy of a career-best six last season. ... Elliott has 76 total touchdowns (64 rushing, 12 receiving) in his career. The two-time rushing champ's next TD will move him past Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes for the third most in franchise history. ... S Donovan Wilson is tied with Chargers S Derwin James for the sacks among NFL defensive backs this season with four. Wilson needs one sack to tie Bill Bates' 1984 club record for sacks by a DB. ... Rookie CB DaRon Bland had two interceptions against the Colts to give him three for the season. The last Dallas rookie with four picks was Terence Newman in 2003.

FANTASY TIP: Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has two 100-yard games and three touchdowns in the past four games. He is one of four receivers with at least five catches in 10 games or more this season, alongside Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson.


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