When the Dallas Cowboys take the field for their first game of the season, it will be against one of the more up and down teams in the league in the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have gone through a lot of changes on both sides of the football, but they are still a very dangerous team, especially in a season without preseason games and a chance to scout them. Let’s get into the roster and see what players will give the Cowboys some issues in the season opener.
Los Angeles Rams
2019 Record: 9-7
Last Meeting: 12/15/19 Cowboys 44 - Rams 21
Head Coach: Sean McVay
Key Additions: OLB Leonard Floyd, DL A’Shawn Robinson, RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson
Key Losses: RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks, OLB Dante Fowler Jr., CB Aqib Talib, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, LB Cory Littleton, OLB Clay Matthews, K Greg Zuerlein
Biggest offensive strength and weakness
The Rams may have lost stars Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, but they still have the offensive guru in Sean McVay. He should be able to get this offense clicking with the passing attack led by Jared Goff that also includes receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and tight end Tyler Higbee. McVay’s ability to pick apart defenses with his photographic memory will always keep his team in games. That receiving corps will be going up against a Cowboys secondary that many feel could be the weakest spot on the team. McVay will look to employ a quick-passing and play-action game plan to keep the secondary and linebacking groups off balance.
While their passing game is their offensive strength, many would consider the running game their weakness. Without Gurley in the backfield, teams won’t be loading the box or making sure he doesn’t sneak out of the backfield and catch passes. Outside of rookie Cam Akers, who has been hyped up in camp but has yet so prove it on an NFL field, this running back group doesn’t make you feel like they can do much damage against these Cowboys defensive lineman and speedy linebackers.
Biggest defensive strength and weakness
When you look at this Rams defense, it’s easy to see that their defensive line is their biggest strength when they take the field. Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and now you add pass rusher Leonard Floyd and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson to the mix, and you have the makings of a stout defensive front. With the Cowboys losing center Travis Frederick this offseason and right tackle La’el Collins on IR with a hip injury, this defensive front could be the reason the Cowboys win or lose this game. If Donald is able to get the best of Joe Looney and Floyd can get around Cam Erving then Dak Prescott is in for a long night.
The Rams biggest weakness on defense is the secondary. Outside of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and safety Taylor Rapp, there isn’t much to be afraid of when you take a look at this unit. They lost corners Aqib Talib (trade) and Nickell Robey-Coleman this offseason in free agency. The Cowboys can easily keep the ball away from Ramsey, and Prescott can manipulate Rapp using his eyes to keep him guessing allowing Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb to attack cornerback Troy Hill and their slot cornerback who could either be Darious Williams or David Long Jr.
On offense, the biggest x-factor that will lead to there success will be tight end Tyler Higbee against Cowboys safeties Xavier Woods and Darian Thompson. If he can get the better of them it will be a long day for the Cowboys defense.
On defense, it will be Aaron Donald. Joe Looney is going to have his hands full with Donald and for the Cowboys to succeed they will need Looney to be able to hold off the best defensive tackle in the NFL.