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The Lone Star State will have its two teams meet in NFL preseason betting action on Saturday night in a nationally televised duel on CBS. The Houston Texans will look to get the bagel out of their win column in the preseason as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans (-3)
Saturday, August 28th
8:00 ET, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Cowboys Notes: Even though the Cowboys are 2-1 in the preseason both SU and ATS, HC Wade Phillips really can't be all that happy with the way that his team has played, particularly on offense. The team only has accounted for two offensive touchdowns, both of which came in the passing game. In a span of three games, that simply isn't going to cut it. He'll hope for better this week when Houston's putrid defense comes to town, especially with the first team offense expected to play at least a half of football. Dallas ranks 27th or worse in every major offensive category thus far in the preseason, including an average of a woeful 251.3 yards and 13.7 points per game. The only blessing that has saved Dallas' skin has been its defense. The Boys rank fifth in the league in scoring 'D' at 12.7 points per game and are only allowing the sixth fewest yards in the NFL to boot (263.3 YPG). Twenty four of the 38 total points scored by opposing teams have come in the fourth quarter, where Dallas had been dominated before beating San Diego 9-0 in the fourth in last week's 16-14 victory. The battle at the wide receiver positions is once again going to be tense this week, as QB Tony Romo will probably be throwing the pigskin to a plethora of different targets. WR Sam Hurd leads the team in receiving with nine catches and 100 yards, but the likelihood is that he needs a big game to avoid being put on the taxi squad once the preseason is over.
Texans Notes: For a team that usually tries incredibly hard in the preseason, the Texans have been a bit of a disaster this season. It's not that the first team offense has really struggled, but the defense is having major lapses. We saw that clear as day in the 19-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in which all 19 points were scored in the final nine minutes of the game. Last week, the New Orleans Saints jumped out and put 28 points on the board in the first half as well en route to a 38-20 win. The good news is that QB Matt Schaub and his starting offense will take the field for probably the majority of three quarters on Saturday night. Schaub has been fantastic, completing 13-of-16 passes for 81 yards with a TD and no turnovers. He has done his job, putting the offense in the end zone in each of his first two games. It will be very interesting to see what HC Gary Kubiak does with his running backs. Arian Foster has started the first two games of the preseason, rushing for 59 yards and a TD, but Steve Slaton has gotten more looks with 15 rushes for 41 yards. With both Justin Griffith and Ben Tate already out for the season, this is a running back corps that can't afford many more knocks. Look out defensively for the performance of the front seven. Kubiak was very upset with how poorly the unit played against the Saints all game long, and the starters are expected to do significantly better this week in the home opener.
The Final Word: This is a good recipe for success for the Texans. It is their home opener, and the crowd at Reliant Stadium is going to be thrilled to see how good this team could be in a year which the playoffs are an expectation. Houston also has yet to record a win, something that doesn't typically sit well with coaches in the preseason as much as the outcomes really don't matter. Kubiak is likely to use his starting offense for more time that Phillips will, especially since Phillips has gotten an extra look at his team courtesy of the Hall of Fame Game. Sprinkle in a tad bit of the Texas sized rivalry these two teams have a bit of, and the Texans should be revved up as if this were a game of legitimate importance. Expect them to walk away with a relatively comfortable 'W'.
Prediction: Texans 28 – Cowboys 20