Cowboys: Murray primed for more success
Through the first four weeks of the season, very few players in the league have gotten off to as hot a start as the one that DeMarco Murray (+5.3) has had. His 534 rushing yards are best in the league by a country mile (Le’Veon Bell is currently in second-place with 378 rushing yards), and his exceptional performance has led to him being mentioned as an early potential MVP candidate.
Murray appears to be primed to continue this tremendous level considering that the Cowboys’ opponent this coming Sunday will be the Houston Texans. The Texans have had difficulty stopping the run so far this year, having surrendered big games already to Alfred Morris in week one, Rashad Jennings in week three, and the duo of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller this last weekend. The 521 yards that the Texans have given up on the ground so far is the seventh-worst figure in the league, and it goes along with a porous average yards allowed per carry of 5.0 as well.
This bodes well for Murray and the offensive line of the Cowboys who have helped pave the way for him this season. In particular, the play of Tyron Smith at left tackle and Jason Witten – long underrated for his prowess as a run blocker – have allowed Murray to achieve great success, as he’s been absolutely lethal following their lead. So far this year, Murray is averaging a ridiculous 7.0 yards per carry on fifty-one rushing attempts going to the left of his line. The Texans’ defense will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their matchup against the Giants, in which Rashad Jennings similarly exploited that side of their defense to the tune of 136 yards on twenty-three carries.
The Texans need to find players on defense to step up in run support and assist J.J. Watt. Brian Cushing might boast a high run stop percentage, but he’s also had his struggles with missed tackles. Conversely, Brooks Reed hasn’t missed any tackles thus far, but his run stop percentage is disappointingly low. If Houston’s defenders don’t get on the same page defensively, expect the Cowboys to ride on DeMarco Murray’s shoulders to another victory.