Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys: Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 21, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 21, 2021
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Where to listen: NFL Game Pass, Westwood One, Sirius XM

Preseason to date
Texans: 1-0 (last game, won 26-7 at Green Bay)
Cowboys: 0-2 (last game, lost 19-16 at Arizona)

Last week’s stats leaders


Texans:
Passing: Davis Mills -- 11-for-22, 112 yards; Tyrod Taylor -- 4-for-4, 40 yards
Rushing: Scottie Phillips -- 13 carries, 66 yards, 1 touchdown
Receiving: Chris Conley -- 4 catches, 51 yards
Defense: Jonathan Greenard, Roy Lopez -- 1 sack each

Cowboys:
Passing: Cooper Rush -- 7-for-13, 89 yards
Rushing: Jaquan Hardy -- 8 carries, 32 yards
Receiving: Ced Wilson -- 2 catches, 40 yards
Defense: Dorance Armstrong -- 2 sacks

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Cowboys -4, Texans +4
BetMGM: Cowboys -3.5, Texans +3.5
FanDuel: Cowboys -4, Texans +4

Larry Ness went 3-1-1 last week in the first set of NFL Preseason games. Keep an eye on our Shop Picks page to see what Larry and our other champion handicappers will do this week. Don’t miss that big winner, or any of their premium picks.

Texans - Cowboys preview


It’s the Battle for Texas, AKA the Governor’s Cup, as the Dallas Cowboys play their third preseason game and host the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on Saturday.

The Texas teams are coming off solid performances last week, but one resulted in a win. Houston took advantage of the Green Bay Packers’ backups to win 26-7 at Lambeau Field.

Dallas had to wait until late in the fourth quarter to score their first touchdown of the preseason, but could not keep up with the field goal battle with Matt Prater. He hit two in the final two minutes to give the Arizona Cardinals a 19-16 win at State Farm Stadium last Friday.

The Cowboys’ offense has been an eyesore when Dak Prescott has not been out there. The franchise quarterback is still going through the motions of his shoulder issues that have kept him limited in camp. Dallas has gone quarterback-by-committee to see who emerges from the pack as the backup to Prescott.

So far, it appears Garrett Gilbert is the clubhouse leader over Ben DiNucci and Cooper Rush. While he threw nine more incompletions than Rush against the Cardinals, Gilbert continues to show more willingness in the deep passing game.

We could see more of Dallas’ stars Saturday. Top defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper were activated from the physically unable to participate (PUP) list this week and have been full-gos in training camp. Whether they will be in game action this week remains to be seen.

The Texans continue to weave through the weeds that is this tumultuous offseason. The largest weed is that of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson and what his status is going forward. Will he play? Will he be traded? Will he just sit on the bench all year and collect a paycheck?

There is no rush for the Texans to move Watson. He’s still under contract, there’s that pending sexual assault and sexual harrassment investigation over his head, as well.  Teams are going to be hesitant to do anything should that come out.

So there’s the wait-and-see game. The Texans have Tyrod Taylor has a contingency plan heading into Week 2, and it’s likely he’ll start and play at least a quarter on Saturday. Taylor has been a serviceable quarterback when given the opportunity. If he gets the chance in Houston, that’s not a bad stopgap. 

Betting trends


The Cowboys have been an unreal 22-47 against the spread in their last 69 games. That, my friends, is not nice.

The under is 5-1 in the last six games the Texans have been an underdog, and the dog is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings. The under has also cashed in the last five.

Prediction


If more offensive talent gets on the field not named Prescott, it should be a jolt of electricity for the home crowd. This is the chance for one of those quarterbacks to seize the backup job, and Gilbert has the inside track. Cowboys win 21-14.

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