Football analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout who now works for NFL Network and serves as an analyst for DallasCowboys.com, gives his weekly keys to the game Sunday, providing specific points of emphasis for both the Cowboys and Texans.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys simply need to play a "clean" football game to chalk up a win against the Texans. As the better team with superior talent at each marquee position, the Cowboys will need to turn the ball over and commit a bunch of mistakes to help the Texans stay in the game.
If Dak Prescott and Co. take care of the ball while exhibiting patience and discipline against Lovie Smith's soft zone defense, the Cowboys could methodically pick apart the Texans with an efficient effort. With the offense forcing the Texans to chase points due to an explosive offensive output, the defense could overwhelm Davis Mills with a ferocious pass rush and sticky pass coverage that results in a turnover fest in Week 14.
The Texans will win if…
Lovie Smith will need his team to bring their A-game this weekend to knock off the Cowboys. Despite their woeful record, the Texans can pull off an upset if they are able to slow down the Cowboys in the red zone to make the game a kicking competition between Ka'imi Fairbairn and Brett Maher.
If the Texans can slow down the Cowboys in the red zone by forcing Prescott to throw against a soft zone designed to take away the deep ball to force a number of check-down throws.
Offensively, the Texans must combine a productive running game with a deliberate approach to limit the total number of possessions in the game. If Dameon Pierce can find cracks and creases between tackles to pick of three or four yards a pop, the Texans' ball control approach could turn this game into an ugly affair that gives them a chance to steal it in the fourth quarter.