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NFC Divisional Round: Cowboys At Rams Preview

by Daniel Gerbick on Thursday, January 10th, 2019

cowboys at rams nfc 2019 nfc playoffsThe Dallas Cowboys head to Los Angeles to take on the Rams tomorrow in a match featuring two of the best running backs in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley.

Last week the Cowboys defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round 24-22 at Arlington, while the Rams, the No. 2 seed in the NFC, were off.

The Cowboys have won three straight and eight of their last nine, while the Rams 2-2 in their last four games. Despite reaching the playoffs with back-to-back victories the Rams have yet to prove they’ve left their struggles behind as those wins came against the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.

For the Cowboys, Elliott is the key to their offense, he starts everything and allows them to use their play action game and then turn things over to quarterback Dak Prescott.

Fortunately for Elliott and Prescott, the Cowboys offensive line has been superb most of the season in both the running and passing game something that allows them to fully utilize the other weapons around them such as wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The Rams defense has been good this year, but it has shown flaws that can be exploited by the Cowboys run game despite the presence of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.

The Rams’ run defense ranked 23rd this season in the league allowing 122.3 rushing yards per game, something that should benefit a Cowboys ground attack that ranked eighth in the NFL, with 125.2 rushing yards per contest.

Todd Gurley, who’s a little banged up as he deals with a knee issue that shouldn’t keep him out of the game, won’t have an easy matchup and he may have to struggle for yards.

Gurley’s going against a Cowboys run defense that ranks fifth in the league as it allows 93.3 yards per game. That doesn’t bode well for him as he’s been struggling recently running for 28 and 48 in his last two games. That, however, hasn’t kept him out of the end zone as he’s scored four times in his last three games.

If Gurley can’t find enough running room the Rams will need quarterback Jared Goff to step his game up and prove that he can put the team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. Goff has a lot of weapons around him to put up a ton of points and he may have to do it if the Rams defense fails to contain Elliott, Prescott, and Cooper.

Both quarterbacks need to have good games, but for the Cowboys to win against a team with such an explosive offense as the Rams, Dak needs to be perfect and avoid turnovers at all costs as the Rams are lethal when given a short field.

The Cowboys will make it interesting thanks to Elliott and their better run defense, but despite all their shortcomings, the Rams will find a way to outscore Dallas and move on to the NFC championship game.

Prediction: Cowboys 23 – 30 Rams

 

 

 

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