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The Dallas Cowboys earned a tough wild card round win against the Seattle Seahawks this past Saturday. This week they will face a much tougher task in the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas won’t be playing at home this time and facing a much tougher offense. The Rams looked like a sure thing for the Super Bowl earlier in the season but some late season stumbles tempered those lofty expectations a bit. Most likely, the New Orleans Saints will take care of business against the Philadelphia Eagles, which means these teams are battling for the right to leave Los Angeles and punch their ticket to the NFC Championship in the Super Dome.
Keys To The Game
There’s nothing complicated about the Cowboys’ strategy. They play good defense, feed Ezekiel Elliott, play more good defense and then keep feeding Ezekiel Elliott. They’ll sprinkle in some passing game shots for Dak Prescott and company but this offense goes as Elliott goes. The Cowboys will need to get Elliott going and hope to set up some deep shots for Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. It’s a simple strategy but not easy to accomplish. Defensively will be a bit more complicated. The Cowboys will have to stop Todd Gurley first and foremost. Everything else is secondary to that goal.
The Los Angeles Rams have a more diverse offensive arsenal and will look to use it to keep the Cowboys’ defense off balance. Like Elliott, Gurley is a workhorse back but a more versatile weapon. Gurley is just as dangerous in the passing game as the running game which makes him harder to key in on. When you add in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods stretching the field you see how tall a task this will be for the Cowboys’ defense. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys match up with Gurley in the passing game. Expect to see a lot of one on ones between him and Jaylon Smith. Defensively, the Rams will turn Aaron Donald loose and hope he can wreak havoc in the Dallas backfield.
The X-factor for the Dallas Cowboys is guard Zack Martin. Aaron Donald may well be the best overall player in the NFL. Martin will need to do a respectable job handling him if the Dallas offense wants to keep on schedule.
The X-factor for the Los Angeles Rams is wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks could be considered the x-factor in every Rams’ game. Gurley has a way of getting defensive backs to peek into the backfield. If they do that, Cooks will burn them over the top. The Cowboys can’t stay in the game if the Rams get quick scores.
The Cowboys have looked good as of late but the Rams just have too much firepower. Dallas will hang around for a while but Sean McVay will draw up some unique plays to put up a few quick scores and the Rams will pull away in the second half for the victory.