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The Dallas Cowboys will entertain the Houston Texans on Sunday so we decided to get some enemy intel from SB Nation's Texans blog, Battle Red Blog.
Blogging The Boys: Do you think Arian Foster will play? How will the offense be affected with and without him?
Battle Red Blog: Foster's hamstrings have a mind of their own. Think of him as our own version of Miles Austin without the dreamy blue eyes. If he plays, the offense has a dynamic weapon who can impact the game on all three downs. If he sits, which I do not anticipate at this point but it is still very possible, then the team will look to the far less talented rookie runner, Alfred Blue. While Blue is not bad, he is certainly no Arian Foster. I would consider #23's absence a major break for the Boys if it were to happen.
BTB: How would you assess Ryan Fitzpatrick's play so far? Will he continue to be the QB for the Texans past this year?
BRB: Personally, I am a proponent for Ryan Mallett starting sooner rather than later. Fitzpatrick is a good guy, a good leader, and someone you can root for, but he is one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks I have ever seen in a Texans uniform. One play he will drop a dime to DeAndre Hopkins for a big gain, and the next play he will throw it to Andre Johnson in triple coverage just for giggles. The man is fearless and aggressive with the football, but that gets him in to trouble at maddeningly inconvenient times (cough cough four interceptions against the Giants cough cough). For now, I consider Fitzpatrick to be the starter until Ryan Mallett is ready to take over for the long haul.
BTB: Do you think there is any possible offensive scheme or decision that can slow down J.J. Watt?
BRB: Other than double teaming him on every snap or cloning Tyron Smith four times, no there is not. Smith might just be the only offensive lineman on the face of the planet who I would consider an equal match for Watt, and boy what a contest that would be - a Demigod of pass rushing versus the patron saint of stonewalling #%&!. As much as I want to see that happen for an entire game, Watt rarely if ever lines up against left tackles on obvious passing downs. Romeo Crennel, like Wade Phillips before him, loves to use Watt to prey on whatever mere mortals teams line up at the right tackle or right guard spots. In the case of the Cowboys, that means Watt will be seeing a whole lot of Doug Free and Zack Martin. If you want to truly know how Martin is progressing as a rookie, watch him tangle with Watt this weekend. If he wins even 40% of his snaps against #99, you got yourself a good one.
I say this every time the Texans play an NFC team that has never faced Watt before - yes, he is that good. He will make plays against you. What you get to watch this weekend is something special, so savor it. The Cowboys offensive line as a unit is dominant enough that I anticipate DeMarco Murray will have a field day on the ground, but if I were a Cowboys fan I would not expect for one second to contain Watt for the entire game. It just doesn't happen.
BTB: Talk about the rest of the Texans defense besides Watt.
BRB: We have a defense besides J.J. Watt? Oh, you mean the nose tackle that can't eat a double team, the first round outside linebacker who has been a complete disappointment, the other outside linebacker who can stop the run really well but not much else, the fantastic inside linebacker who is still inching back to full speed after two major knee injuries, and the talented secondary that occasionally gets picked apart because quarterbacks have forever to throw? Ugh...this is going to be rough. The Cowboys are about the worst matchup the Texans can have. Good offensive line? Check. Good weapons? Check. Mobile quarterback? Check. There are two possible outcomes here: either Ryan Fitzpatrick plays the game of his life and makes it a shootout, or the Cowboys run away with this one in a landslide. For the sake of entertainment, I'm pulling for the shootout.
BTB: What are some of the Texans issues that could really affect the game on Sunday?
BRB: Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing stupid interceptions, nobody on the defensive line outside of Watt being remotely effective on third and long, and of course DeMarco Murray breaking a million tackles simply because he can. Two of those three things will happen this Sunday. I guarantee it.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a private fantasy football League for SBNation readers this week. It's $10 to join, the top 200 teams win money, and first place wins $1,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday. Here's the link.