Texans vs. Cowboys


Senior Reporters Connor Hyde and Shawn McFarland square off in who will win the Texas Bowl this Sunday.



The Texans will win

Shawn McFarland

There are two reasons the Houston Texans will beat the Arlington Cowgirls on Sunday at noon: J.J. Watt and the rest of the Texan defense.

The Texans won their first-ever regular season game against the Cowboys 19-10 in the 2002 inaugural season.

The Texans’ defense will always be a threat towards any team. The question this week is if they can stop the NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, and penetrate the Dallas offensive line. The problem for the Cowboys is they have to play against Watt, Brian Cushing and D.J. Swearinger and the rest of the Texans’ defense. Watt has been an absolute beast this season and has shown to be the favorite already for Defensive MVP. Cushing leads the team with 37 tackles and is finally healthy (knock-on-wood), and Swearinger’s ability to force fumbles on violent hits is dangerous for anyone against him.

DeMarco Murray has had problems holding onto the ball this season and you never know when Romo will try to force a ball he should not have thrown. It is in these moments that the Texans need to capitalize. The Texans’ defense has been doing rather well this season so far even without their first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who should be returning in the next few weeks. Although the Texans’ defense has already given up 521 rushing yards this season, and DeMarco Murray is averaging 128.3 yards a game, the leadership of Watt will have to show in this game. The Texans have a chance if the defense makes key stops and forces turnovers.

The Texans’ offense only works if the quarterback’s play is on point. With all of the offseason changes and pickups, it seems that the Texans are in the same predicament as last year with a questionable quarterback play. With a future Hall of Fame receiver in Andre Johnson and run game led by Arian Foster, Ryan Fitzpatrick has to lead the offense and be productive to win the game. The Texans will need to balance the run game and pass game and not turn the ball over to win this game.

This game will most likely come down to the special teams and kicking game from both sides. Although the Texans’ kicker Randy Bullock has not been reliable in the past, this season, he is starting to be the “Reliable Randy” the Texans want him to be.

The Texans are in a disadvantage going into a larger-than-life stadium against a team that just demolished a high-powered New Orleans Saints’ offense. Not only do the Texans have a disadvantage for being the away team but also disadvantages in almost every other category. The Texans will have to rely on big plays on defense, most likely coming from Watt or an out-of-this-world offensive showing.

This game is not just another game for either team. This is the fourth “Texas Bowl” between the two teams. Since these two teams do not play but once every four seasons, the winner gets bragging rights for being the best team in Texas at the time. Although the Texans have lost two of the three games against the Cowboys, this is by far the best the two teams have been when playing each other.


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The Cowboys will win

Connor Hyde

I pulled into the Academy parking lot last Wednesday to purchase a box of golf balls for Sunday. It was nearing closing time as customers slowly dwindled out of the store and pulled into reverse to head home. As I approached the sliding doors, an Academy employee waiting on his ride asked me if I was ready for the Dallas Cowboys versus the Houston Texans game. I nodded and told him I’ve been waiting years for this matchup. He replied with memory of the Texans defeating the Cowboys 19-10 at Reliant Stadium at the helm of David Carr in 2002.

I laughed, smirked and revisited my disappointment in Quincy Carter as well as my admiration of Troy Aikman as a child.  However, I reminded him 2002 is besides the fact. So is 2006 and 2010 when the Cowboys beat the Texans.

I also want to remind every Texans fan who proudly and emphatically interrupts other fans with “well, we have JJ Watt.”


If I want to follow petty and pointless argument strategies of naming our top players I could dish out Dez Bryant, Demarco Murray, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten, Dwayne Harris and Tony Romo – a second half monster. Basic math supports six outweighs one. However, this is not the basis of my argument.

Traditional football philosophy tells you: win the ground game and you’re unstoppable.

The ‘Boys have reverted to their roots on the ground through Demarco Murray; the current league leader in rushing yards. Murray is averaging 128.3-yards per game and has steamrolled through defensive lines consistently on the ground. Overall, the Cowboys’ run game has totaled 660 yards on the ground through week four.

And yet, there is still JJ Watt.

Watt is beyond his pads and has impressed the overall culture of the NFL with his philanthropy and moral grounding. However, on the field, he remains the consistent wall in the Texans defensive scheme. A man of all trades and a miner for swatted passes. Nevertheless, the ‘Boys have a young and developing offensive line who embarrassed a seasoned New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. Travis Frederick has risen to the challenge for the ‘Boys offensive line after feeling pressure from first round pick Zack Martin during the preseason. Frederick has been vastly underrated the past two seasons but has established himself as a truck in the run protection as well as pass protection.

The Texans’ defense, outside of Watt, is – to reiterate – dependent…on Watt. As the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, Watt has tallied 15 tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery, an 80-yard pick six and a touchdown reception. Just put him at quarterback and solve that issue. CBS Sports claims Watt “will make Tony Romo’s life hard the entire game.”

Romo is on a weekly recovery basis from his offseason back surgery which illuminated week one against the San Francisco 49ers. A seemingly doomed offense and a crumbling secondary living up to its reputation had Cowboys’ fans question Jerry Jones passing on Johnny “this close” Manziel. Week two was progressively better for Romo as he rebounded from his three interception performance against San Francisco for a moral victory against Tennessee. Romo’s competence came under fire again during halftime against St. Louis. However, erasing a 21-point deficit shocked the football community.

Then the New Orleans Massacre.

Romo completed 22 of 29 attempts with three touchdowns for 262 yards to obliterate the Saints, completed by Murray’s 149 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

The point is: Houston will fall, and they will fall hard. Despite Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins as wide outs, despite Arian Foster – who is hardly consistent – and despite the powerhouse of JJ Watt, Houston will fall. Dallas’s running game is too strong and Tony Romo is too hot.



There are 3 comments

  1. Free2shred00

    I stopped reading the Hyde piece after the supposed math lesson. JJ Watt =/= 1, that's how much of an impact he has on games. Tony Romo, a second half beast? The guy with a great stat's sheet who is infamous for not being clutch and always making horrible decisions when games are on the line? And if you think that JJ Watt is the Texans' only player worth mentioning, then it is obvious that you should be playing golf on Sunday, as I'm sure you usually do, because that shows you know nothing of other football teams outside of your Cowboys.

  2. Connor Hyde

    The "math lesson" was direct commentary of every argument I've heard regarding the Texans versus the Cowboys. I understand Cushing has done well, 37 tackles (off the top of my head) 0 interceptions and fumbles. The argument is a solid running game is what will determine the game. Dallas surpasses Houston tremendously on the ground this season. I mentioned towards the end of the column Arian Foster is hardly reliable. As for Romo, thank you for reiterating a typical Houston thought regarding him. However, he's been labeled as one of the best second half quarterbacks in the game, e.g. vs. St. Louis. I stand by my argument when it comes to JJ Watt, because he is the only one mentioning. As you said yourself, "that's how much of an impact on games." In my opinion, he is the reason Houston is 3-1 right now.

    I do thank you in commenting on this column. It's always nice to know what people think, because I acknowledge my opinion isn't right or wrong. It's just an opinion.

    Connor Hyde

  3. Cody Lewis

    Hyde's right about the run game. Tyron Smith will be able to contain Watt--Smith is the strongest lineman in the NFL--and Murray will get another hundred yards and probably a couple touchdowns. The Texans' defense is very talented, but the Dallas offense has the edge in my opinion.

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