For Dallas, the Los Angeles space is a house away from residence. The Cowboys’ coaching camp web site in Oxnard, Calif., is about an hour away from the place they’ll play Saturday night time. There needs to be loads of help for America’s Group 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 % from his knee damage. 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, right down to Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips making an attempt to cease the group he used to teach. 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 12 months.
Right here is how Sporting Information’ NFL consultants see the sport enjoying 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; Whole: 49
Vinnie Iyer: The Cowboys ran the ball at an elite stage in opposition to the Seahawks. The Rams have 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 effectively 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 will probably be hitting huge go performs off play-action to Amari Cooper. Rookie Michael Gallup will probably be an X-factor in one-on-one matchups.
The Cowboys ought to have the ability to management the ball and end lengthy drives. To counter, the Rams want a wholesome Gurley to grind by means of Dallas’ stout entrance seven, and Goff to be affected person in opposition to an excellent, bend-but-don’t-break go protection.
Goff hasn’t been the identical since he misplaced go-to slot receiver Cooper Kupp, and Gurley at lower than 100 % effectiveness could be sufficient to throw off the Rams’ simpler-than-you-think passing recreation.
The Cowboys match up effectively 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 needs to 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, in fact, is a star. So is Elliott. Prescott is, too, merely by advantage of being the Cowboys’ beginning quarterback.
Nevertheless it’s not about offense; not in January, even within the heat confines of the Coliseum.
The Rams have Donald, the perfect defensive participant in soccer. However the Cowboys have the higher total 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 could have a tough time getting separation from Cowboys defensive backs, making life that a lot tougher on Goff.
There’s another factor that would go in Dallas’ favor: the gang in Los Angeles. Cowboys followers are embedded seemingly in all places across the globe, however that’s particularly the case in Southern California, the place the group has held its coaching camp for a lot of the final 20 years. There is a robust likelihood the Rams will really feel just like the away group in their very own stadium, even in a playoff recreation.
Decide: Cowboys, 20-17