Cowboys at Rams Pick and Preview
- Matchup: Dallas Cowboys (3-1) at Los Angeles Rams (2-2)
- Line: LA Rams (-5.5) | O/U 43
The Dallas Cowboys visit SoFi Stadium for a Week 5 clash with the Los Angeles Rams in a matchup featuring two of the league’s lowest-scoring offenses. The Cowboys disposed of the Washington Commanders last week and are riding a three-game winning streak. The Rams’ bid to win three straight games was foiled with an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.
The Rams’ lackluster rushing attack will look to rebound against the Cowboys’ mediocre run defense in a contest with an over/under of 43. Dallas will struggle to find running lanes against the Ram’s impressive defensive front but should see success through the air. Los Angeles slipped past the Cowboys 20-17 the last time these two squads met to kick off the 2020 season. Both offenses moved the chains consistently with 47 first downs and 802 yards. But only 10 points were scored in the second half, including a scoreless fourth quarter.
The Cowboys have reeled off three straight wins since losing Dak Prescott in the season-opening game. Dallas edged the Bengals at home before hitting the road to subdue the Giants in a hard-fought contest. Last week, the Cowboys limited Carson Wentz to 155 passing yards in an easy victory against the Commanders.
Backup quarterback Cooper Rush directs a subpar offensive unit ranked 27th in scoring with 17.8 points a game. The Cowboys also rank near the bottom of the league in total yards, passing yards, and time of possession. However, Dallas has committed just two turnovers thus far this season and none over the past two games.
Ezekiel Elliott paces the Cowboys’ 19th-ranked ground attack with 227 yards, averaging a paltry 3.8 yards on 59 rushes. Tony Pollard has posted 4.5 yards a carry and 162 yards on 36 attempts.
Linebacker Micah Parsons headlines a defense that leads the NFL with 15 sacks. The 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year has tallied four sacks, while DeMarcus Lawrence (3), Dorance Armstrong (3), and Dante Fowler (2) have combined to take down eight enemy quarterbacks.
Dallas boasts the NFL’s third-ranked scoring defense (15.5 points) and ranks near the top of the league in passing defense and total defense. Tom Brady (212 passing yards) is the only signal-caller to surpass 200 passing yards against the Cowboys this season, while Joe Burrow, Daniel Jones, and Carson Wentz failed to reach the milestone.
The Rams are coming off a disappointing loss to the 49ers in Week 4. Matt Stafford was sacked seven times, and Los Angeles was limited to just 57 rushing yards. San Francisco also outgained the Rams 327 to 257 despite having only 13 first downs and running 24 fewer offensive plays.
Stafford led the NFL with 17 interceptions last season and has thrown six picks in four games this year. The Rams’ offense is ranked 29th in scoring with 17.5 points and has the league’s 30th-ranked rushing attack with just 68.5 yards a game. Cam Akers’ 61 rushing yards against the Cardinals is the season-high for a Los Angeles running back.
Cooper Kupp is enjoying another banner season for the league’s 16th-ranked passing offense. The 2021 Offensive Player of the Year has 42 catches for 402 yards and three touchdowns in four games. Tight end Tyler Higbee has caught 26 passes for 244 yards, while Ben Skowronek has 140 yards on 12 receptions.
Defensively, the Rams have effectively shut down opposing teams’ running game. Los Angeles has yet to allow a 100-yard game to an enemy running back and ranks sixth in rushing defense with 92.25 yards allowed per game.
A lack of a consistent pass rush has hurt the pass defense, which ranks 20th with 249.25 yards. Los Angeles has recorded only seven sacks in four games, with Aaron Donald and Bobby Wagner tallying two apiece.
Cowboys vs. Rams Prediction
The Cowboys’ defense has been spectacular this season and is the primary reason the team has won three games in a row. But I think the Rams’ running game finally gets unleashed to help snap Dallas’s winning streak. Los Angeles’s defense played well last week except for two plays and will bounce back in a big way against a mediocre Cowboys offense.
The game, in all likelihood, will be a defensive battle, with the Rams utilizing the running game to control the clock and wear down the Cowboys’ stout defensive front. Dallas will look to connect on a few big plays from the passing game but will struggle to move the chains without an effective rushing attack.
With a healthy Dak Prescott, the Cowboys would be in a better position to attack the Rams’ suspect pass defense. But I do not see Cooper Rush completing enough passes to keep the offense on the field long enough to keep the Dallas defense fresh.
Prediction: Los Angeles 27, Dallas 20
Marvin is a sports fanatic who enjoys writing, daily fantasy sports, and coaching baseball. The native Texan loves traveling overseas and experiencing new cultures. Marvin is an avid fisherman and his favorite hobby is cooking Asian cuisine with his wife. People-watching at outdoor cafes, visiting different zoos, and watching vintage wrestling videos are among his favorite pastimes. He is fascinated with King Cobras, the Himalayan mountains, and the street dogs of Bhutan. His favorite TV shows include The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, and Have Gun – Will Travel. Marvin has coached baseball in Switzerland, Philippines, Brunei, and Bhutan.