The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys are essentially a couple of siblings vying for the attention of the state of Texas.
Dallas has been the dominant NFL force for a long time, but the franchise has struggled to reach the postseason since the days of Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and the Team of the 1990s.
Houston, on the other hand, has reached the playoffs two years in a row, and the Texans are once again expected to be one of the AFC's top teams at the end of the year.
While both teams feature a dazzling array of stars, you shouldn't expect to see them play much—if at all—in this final preseason game. NFL teams must cut their rosters down to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 31, which means teams will be using this final game to evaluate players on the roster bubble.
Here's what you need to know about the upcoming Texans-Cowboys preseason game.
When: Thursday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Watch: No national coverage; check local listings
Live Stream: Preseason Live
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 37.5 pts.
- Spread: Dallas (+2.5)
Texans Injury Report (via ESPN.com)
Out: David Hunter, NT, Alec Lemon, WR,
Questionable: Garrett Graham, TE
Probable: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, DeVier Posey, WR, DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arian Foster, RB
Cowboys Injury Report (via ESPN.com)
Out: Jay Ratliff, NT
Questionable: Lance Dunbar, RB, Anthony Spencer, DE
Probable: Jason Hatcher, DT, Dez Bryant, WR
Can Dallas Establish a Running Game?
Through four preseason games (remember, Dallas participated in the Hall of Fame Game), the Cowboys have struggled to establish a consistent running game—especially when the starters have played.
DeMarco Murray looked much better in Week 3, rushing for 51 yards on 12 carries against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he'll likely sit this upcoming game out, which means rookie Joseph Randle, who has sparkled at times this preseason, and third-year man Phillip Tanner will likely see plenty of action.
Houston's defense isn't particularly deep after you get past the starters, which provides the Cowboys a perfect opportunity to build some confidence in the running game on Thursday.
Kyle Orton and the Cowboys second-string offense is capable of scoring on Houston's second-string defense. With rookie tight end Gavin Escobar trying to prove he's better than veteran Dante Rosario, we could see both players have big nights.
Combined with the long looks Randle and Tanner will get at the running back positions, the Cowboys should put together a solid first half.
Houston's lack of depth on both offense—minus the running back position, where Ben Tate is a terrific second option behind Arian Foster—and defense will hurt the team's chances in this contest.
Final Score: Cowboys win 24-21
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