What do the Cowboys need to do to come out victorious on Sunday night?
The Cowboys will win if the offense gets off to a fast start and forces the Rams to chase points from the start. Led by Ezekiel Elliott and a talented trio at wide receivers (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb), the Cowboys have the personnel in place to counter any tactic thrown at them by Rams’ new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. If the Rams utilize a “plus-one” front to load the box to contain Elliott, Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb could feast on the one-on-one match-ups in the secondary.
If the Rams opt to take away the Cowboys’ wide receivers with two-deep coverage or a variety of roll zones, Elliott could hit his head on the goal post running through an undermanned defense. This would lead to a ball-control plan that keeps the Rams’ high-powered offense on the sideline and creates anxiety for the Sean McVay and Co. as the run-centric approach reduces the total number of offensive possessions. With fewer opportunities, the Rams could fall into the trap of playing a drop back game without maintaining the offensive balance needed to slow down a potent Cowboys’ pass rush.
Confidence levels high?
How confident are you in the Dallas Cowboys as the season gets ready to begin?
You might recall that we tracked confidence all season long in 2019 and things ended at a pretty low point after the Jason Garrett era (38%). That figure bumped up considerably (all the way to 70%) after free agency and then skyrocketed after the NFL Draft (96%!). According to SB Nation Reacts data, Cowboys fans are currently sitting on 70% confidence in the team.
Perhaps the tail off between the draft and now is just a result of being restless as we are all anxiously waiting for the season to begin. Ask any person who follows the NFL and they will tell you that the Dallas Cowboys are among the contenders to play in the season’s ultimate game in Tampa Bay.
Maybe those expectations are what is causing the lack of confidence. We are so scarred over the last quarter century as Cowboys fans that the moment anything remotely positive feels like it is starting to happen, we all tend to get spooked because we’ve been burned before.
Who will get the start at CB for the Cowboys in week one?
FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys open both their NFL season and a beautiful $5 billion stadium on Sunday Night. It’ll be the first chance to see Dallas’ promising young rookies obtained in a stellar draft this past April, and another opportunity for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to show his value to a club that failed to sign him to a long-term deal.
But the George Teague-led focus is on the other side of the ball, where CowboysSI.com is under the impression that rookies Trevon Diggs might be holding onto a starting cornerback job in a week-long fight with vet Chidobe Awuzie.
If Awuzie is healthy, maybe he never succumbs to competition. But the Alabama product Diggs - who says he’s “ready to be thrown into the fire’’ - has experienced a fine camp.
Teague, the former Cowboys and Alabama standout, says that secondary will be the key to a Dallas win.
“Dallas’ secondary is (likely to be) struggling,’’ Teague said. “I don’t think they (the Rams) can run the ball against the Cowboys’ defense. But their passing game could be a problem.”
Expert predictions for Cowboys-Rams: Will Dallas start the Mike McCarthy era with a win at LA? - SportsDay Staff
How do the SportsDay Staffers predict the game going on Sunday night?
The hype surrounding the Cowboys’ offense proves to be real, rolling through an Aaron Donald-led Rams defense. The defense gives up a lot of yards, but timely sacks and a turnover or two enables it to stymie the Rams’ offense just enough to get the victory, and the special teams actually add some value for the first time in a couple of years. Cowboys 31, Rams 21.
The Mike McCarthy era kicks off with a bang and Dak Prescott makes the first of 16 arguments for the kind of contract Deshaun Watson just got. The Cowboys underperformed last year, and that, along with the additions on offense and defense, will make them Super Bowl contenders. Dak will give Jerry Jones close to what he’s always wanted, and it’ll cost him. Cowboys 27, Rams 21.
This will be a defensive struggle in the first half, mainly because the teams were unable to have a preseason, so the offenses will have some problems. But in the second half, the Cowboys’ offense will find its footing and take over. Cowboys 27, Rams 17.
Everson Griffen vs Andrew Whitworth will be a matchup to keep an eye on.
The Cowboys travel out to SoFi Stadium to take on a Los Angeles Rams’ team that is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season. The Super Bowl LIII participants have undergone an extensive makeover this offseason but they’re a talented bunch with enough star power on each side of the ball to re-emerge as playoff contenders. Let’s take a look at the matchup:
Mike McCarthy is ready for a new year, in the Big D.
This summer, some eight months into his tenure as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach, McCarthy had to be reminded by his wife that Labor Day was in a few days.
“That’s kind of in tune when we know football is right around the corner,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s return to a sideline begins Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) against the Los Angeles Rams. He will be coaching his first game since Dec. 2, 2018, when he was fired by the Packers after a 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
As comfortable as McCarthy, 56, should feel after posting a 125-77-2 record from 2006 to 2018 with the Packers, including a Super Bowl win, his reintroduction to the league has been anything but smooth.
The coronavirus pandemic altered all of the norms for an NFL offseason, so much so that McCarthy did not address his full team until late July. Without any preseason games, the challenge of getting a team ready was more difficult in an already-shortened summer. The Cowboys did not have any live tackling in their padded practices, which means the first real hits for players will happen on Sunday’s opening kickoff.
Will Erving be a major problem on Sunday night?
Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins had a breakout 2019 season of sorts. Once caught between guard and tackle, Collins officially made himself at home on the right side last year, looking primed for a Pro Bowl campaign in 2020.
Instead, Collins will miss at least the first three games of the season with a hip injury, forcing Cameron Erving into a starting role.
Erving comes to the Cowboys from Kansas City, where he played in 13 games for the Super Bowl champs a year ago. The Cowboys looked to add Erving this offseason due to his experience across the entire offensive line, making him an attractive swing tackle option before Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.
Erving played nearly 600 snaps at left tackle for the Chiefs last year, giving the Cowboys hope he couple replace Cameron Fleming in their system. Despite his experience level, Cameron Erving has not lived up to his original first round hype, and seems like a step back from Fleming’s ability to provide a spot-start.
One anonymous NFL executive told The Athletic that the Cowboys should be highly concerned about Erving starting the next three games, saying that all you have to do is turn on the tape to see how big of an issue he will be for this offensive line.
“You can go turn on some Chiefs film from last year and see if you are willing to back that horse…He is a liability.”
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