The Dallas Cowboys are traveling to the Coliseum to take on the Rams in an NFC Divisional matchup. The Cowboys are coming off a 2 point victory over the Seahawks that was generally always in their control. The Seahawks scored 8 points late to make it a 2 point game, but the Cowboys won that game in a rather comfortable fashion. The Rams are coming off their first-round bye, which should give them an advantage when talking about game-planning and health. Todd Gurley finished up the reason rather banged up, so the additional rest should allow him to get close to full strength for this game.
On the Cowboys side of the ball, there are a couple of injury situations to look out for. Cole Beasley and Blake Jarwin are both questionable for this game. It has been reported that they both expect to play after warming up pre-game, but it is not a done deal. Beasley is more of a question mark than Jarwin is currently. If they are without either of these guys, I think it is a bump for Zeke but a downgrade for the offense as a whole. Both of these players see significant snaps and are generally the main targets on short passes over the middle.
Rams Sexy Super Bowl Pick
This matchup has a lot of moving parts, so let’s talk about the strength vs. strength matchup here. The Rams and Sean McVay are considered one of the best 3 offenses in football. With them coming off of a bye, you would expect to see a stellar game plan and a lot of interesting twists throughout the game. On the other hand, the Cowboys defense has been really good at defending good offenses and making them feel uncomfortable. Whoever wins this matchup will have a distinct advantage due to the game script implications. The Cowboys want to get a lead and control the pace and the Rams would like to force the Cowboys to play catch up.
I think the biggest key to the Rams offense is going to be how they attempt to attack the Cowboys. The Cowboys’ biggest hole has been to TEs this season. The Rams have integrated Gerald Everett and a little Tyler Higbee into the passing game more over the last few weeks, but they haven’t shown the ability to be even close to a top target. The Rams’ offense is at its best when they can run the ball efficiently. The Cowboys’ linebackers may be the best in the league at defending the run and covering the edges on runs to the outside. I think their speed will be more than enough to stop Gurley from having a ton of success on the ground.
Cowboys Keep Getting Better
The Cowboys’ offense have been much improved since the addition of Amari Cooper. Now, I think there are two main reasons for that happening. Amari Cooper is good and he forces the defense to pay more attention to the Dallas passing game than they were before he got there. They also have just been much better at calling plays and using Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott was never used well in the passing game until the second half of the year where he has become an elite pass-catching back. Zeke has great hands and all the tools necessary to do this, but the Cowboys just recently learned how effective it is to use him in this capacity.
I think that this will play a key role in this game because the worst unit on the Rams’ defense is the linebackers. If Zeke can get to the second level or catch passes 5-10 yards down the field or out in space, he will be able to create havoc all day long. The defensive linemen for the Rams are all really talented, but they virtually all specialize in pass rushing. If the Cowboys can stay within the game early and stick to their game plan, I think that they will have a lot of success moving the ball all game.
This game come down to the first few drives and time of possession. If the Cowboys can have this game tied or have the lead in the second quarter, I think they cover and possibly even win outright. If they trail and panic, we could see the Rams pass rush really kill Dak all game long. I have enough faith in the Dallas defense to pick the former. Give me the Cowboys (+7) and even a sprinkle on the moneyline.