The Cowboys, after holding off the Seahawks within the NFL wild-card spherical, will attempt to beat one other NFC West crew within the divisional playoffs. The NFC East champions final performed the Rams at residence in October of 2017, falling simply brief in a 35-30 shootout.
For Dallas, the Los Angeles space is a house away from residence. The Cowboys’ coaching camp website in Oxnard, Calif., is about an hour away from the place they may play Saturday evening. There must be loads of help for America’s Staff within the Coliseum.
Whereas the Rams’ weak run protection will face a giant check from red-hot Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ robust entrance seven will attempt to include Todd Gurley, who’s anticipated to return to 100 p.c from his knee harm. Dak Prescott and Jared Goff additionally will duel to hunt the defining third-year second of their promising careers.
There may be loads of star energy and drama made for Hollywood, all the way down to Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips making an attempt to cease the crew he used to educate. Because the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett coaches extra for vindication, the Rams’ Sean McVay will attempt to again his offensive genius label together with his first playoff win after going one-and-done final yr.
Right here is how Sporting Information’ NFL specialists see the sport taking part in out.
NFL playoff picks: Cowboys at Rams
- Date, time: Saturday, Jan. 12, 8:15 p.m.
- Location: LA Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.
- TV: FOX
- Odds: Rams -7; Complete: 49
Vinnie Iyer: The Cowboys ran the ball at an elite degree in opposition to the Seahawks. The Rams had been ranked No. 23 in opposition to the run within the common season by way of yards allowed per recreation (122.3) and final in yards allowed per carry (5.1). That traces up properly for Elliott, who averaged 5.Three yards per carry within the wild-card recreation.
Dallas’ offensive line will work to maintain the Rams’ Aaron Donald out of the backfield. The important thing for Prescott might be hitting massive cross performs off play-action to Amari Cooper. Rookie Michael Gallup might be an X-factor in one-on-one matchups.
The Cowboys ought to be capable to management the ball and end lengthy drives. To counter, the Rams want a wholesome Gurley to grind by Dallas’ stout entrance seven, and Goff to be affected person in opposition to a superb, bend-but-don’t-break cross protection.
Goff hasn’t been the identical since he misplaced go-to slot receiver Cooper Kupp, and Gurley at lower than 100 p.c effectiveness might be sufficient to throw off the Rams’ simpler-than-you-think passing recreation.
The Cowboys match up properly in opposition to the Rams, and the shortage of home-field edge for the hosts additionally hurts in an upset.
Decide: Cowboys, 34-27
Tadd Haislop: This recreation must be all about offense given the names concerned. McVay has earned his status as an offensive wizard, and Goff is able to Professional Bowl-caliber play when the the unit is producing on schedule. Gurley, after all, is a star. So is Elliott. Prescott is, too, merely by advantage of being the Cowboys’ beginning quarterback.
However it’s not about offense; not in January, even within the heat confines of the Coliseum.
The Rams have Donald, the very best defensive participant in soccer. However the Cowboys have the higher general protection by a large margin, and that unit is coming off a strong efficiency in opposition to the Seahawks within the wild-card spherical. Dallas has what it takes in its entrance seven to decelerate Gurley, and the LA receivers can have a tough time getting separation from Cowboys defensive backs, making life that a lot more durable on Goff.
There’s yet another factor that might go in Dallas’ favor: the group in Los Angeles. Cowboys followers are embedded seemingly in every single place across the globe, however that’s particularly the case in Southern California, the place the crew has held its coaching camp for a lot of the final 20 years. There is a robust probability the Rams will really feel just like the away crew in their very own stadium, even in a playoff recreation.
Decide: Cowboys, 20-17