Back at it with our second NFL matchup where the St. Louis Rams will face off against Dallas Cowboys. The Rams start off the season 1-1 and so do the Dallas Cowboys, while both teams are coming off a loss and looking to bounce back. This is an intriguing game between non-divisional opponents but I have a lean on it so let’s take a look and see who I like to cover this small number.
Rams: The Rams are off to a 1-1 start after defeating the Cardinals but then losing to the Falcons on the road. They lost by a TD in Atlanta but the game was never really close, as the Falcons jumped out to a 21-0 advantage in the 2nd quarter. However, the Rams battled back, like a Jeff Fisher coached team always does, and competed until the clock read zero. On offense, the Rams are an enigma and seem to have no true identity. With no Steven Jackson in the backfield, this needs to be Sam Bradford’s team. They do not have much of a running game, so I believe offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needs to put the ball in the hands of his 3rd year starter and let him make plays. It’s time to unleash Bradford and give him the keys to the franchise or this team is going to continue to be average. They have solid playmakers in Austin, Cook, and others on the outside so there should be no more excuses. It’s time to live up to the expectations and start taking games over instead of managing them and trying not to make mistakes. On defense, the Rams are a very strong unit. Although Matt Ryan had his way in the first half, the Falcons offense was at a stalemate most of the second half. The Rams have two great defensive ends in Quinn and Long and a stud at middle linebacker in Alec Ogletree, the young rookie out of Georgia. This is a young, tenacious defense that continues to improve and they will need to be great in Dallas this Sunday.
Cowboys: The Cowboys started the year by beating the rival Giants but then followed it up by losing to the Chiefs on the road. The offense looks about the same this year as Romo has all the weapons in the world but the team cannot figure out ways to punch the ball in the end zone, with only one offensive TD last week. The answer to all this, is the lack of production in the running game. Demarco Murray hasn’t had a 100+ yard rushing game in over 8 games and that puts pressure on Romo and his receivers to carry the entire load. When teams know you can’t run, they will key in on your receivers and make life extremely difficult for you. Add in the fact that Dallas continues to have offensive line concerns and you have a struggling offense all together. Monte Kiffin was brought in to run the defense, which looks great thus far, as turnovers are a focal point in his Tampa 2 scheme. They have one of the best front sevens in football, headlined by Demarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. The back end features pro bowl corner Brandon Carr and first round pick Morris Claiborne, who if healthy, can be a star in this league one day.
Although I believe the line is right where it should be, I am going with the Rams here because of the matchup. I believe the Dallas weakness lies in their thin secondary and offensive line. The Rams strengths lie at the defensive front and their tight end production, as Jared Cook thrives in Jeff Fisher’s system. I expect another anemic rushing effort from Demarco Murray, which will allow both Quinn and Long to do what they do best, go sack Tony Romo. With a weak offensive line and pressure coming from both sides, expect Romo to be Romo, meaning 2-3 interceptions in crucial points of the game. If Bradford and the offense can move the ball and avoid costly mistakes, they will leave Dallas with a big win this Sunday.
Rams 27 Dallas 23