PFF Preview: Texans @ Cowboys, Week 5
The Dallas Cowboys welcome the Houston Texans to AT&T Stadium on Sunday in a matchup that features two unexpected 3-1 teams. The Cowboys look to stay hot, as they’ve reeled off three consecutive wins after dropping their season opener. The Houston Texans, who have already surpassed their win total from last year, look to keep sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
An important matchup that is likely to weigh heavily on the outcome of this game will be DeMarco Murray and the strength of the Cowboys rushing attack, attacking a Houston run defense that has struggled to stop the run and rank fourth worst in run defense with a grade of -14.4.
Murray, who has been the workhorse of this Cowboys offense with a league high 99 carries, leads the NFL with 537 yards on the ground, 159 more yards than the leagues No. 2 rusher.
Even more impressive, is the fact that Murray has compiled both a league-high 28 missed tackles on the ground (96.0 Elusive Rating ) and 331 rushing yards after contact, which is an average of 3.3 yards per attempt and is tied for second in the league. Murray’s ability to break tackles and make defenders miss has aided his impressive Breakaway Percentage of 40.2% and has given him a league-leading 10 runs of 15+ yards for a total of 216 yards, also a league-high.
Murray is average 7.7 yards per carry when running to the left as opposed to 3.2 yards per carry when running to the right. The Texans would be smart to line up J.J. Watt on the right side of the defensive line, as he holds the Texan’s best defensive run grade (+1.9) and also has eight run stops, a Run Stop Percentage of 8.6%.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
DeAndre Hopkins –Hopkins leads the Texans in deep passing (20+ yards) targets (six), receptions (three), and yards (160).
Brian Cushing – With 10 run stops, Cushing is tied for seventh among inside linebackers.
D.J. Swearinger – Swearinger has played 50 of 72 run snaps within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage, 69.4%.
Tony Romo – With an accuracy of 25% when throwing deep down field (20+ yards), Romo has the fourth-worst Accuracy Percentage.
Tyron Smith – On 129 passing plays, Smith has only allowed one sack and three total pressures, generating a pass blocking efficiency of 98.1.
Rolando McClain – Playing a total of 43 run snaps, McClain has registered nine stops for stop percentage of 20.9%, third best among inside linebackers.
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