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Cowboys capable of beating Rams, something that seemed unlikely a few weeks ago

The Cowboys have lost 3 of their last 4 against the Rams.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl from their home stadium of SoFi Stadium, their throw-caution-to-the-wind offseason approach to roster-building became the envy of many around the NFL. Fans of the other 31 teams have likely implored their teams to be more like the Rams in a lot of ways, and this was especially true in Dallas. The idea that a 3-1 team led by Cooper Rush could be making this week five trip to Los Angeles was far-fetched given their offseason.

The Cowboys get a Rams team that lost on Monday night at the 49ers, a division rival that’s had their number for years now. The loss evened the Rams NFC West record at 1-1, while the best thing the Cowboys have going for them is a 2-0 record in the NFC East despite playing neither game with Dak Prescott.

With the all-time series tied at 18 wins for each team, the Cowboys will see a different quarterback in Matt Stafford compared to Jared Goff, who won three of his four career starts for the Rams against the Cowboys. Stafford has lost his last two starts against Dallas, both at AT&T Stadium with Detroit.

The last Cowboys loss to the Rams was week one of the 2020 season, and ended in controversy as Jalen Ramsey wasn’t called for holding back Michael Gallup on a pass that could have set the Cowboys up for a winning score. Instead, the Cowboys lost 20-17 in a game where Amari Cooper led them in catches and yards. This Sunday, it will be up to Gallup to continue making plays for Cooper Rush, catching his first touchdown of the season in his return from ACL surgery last week against Washington. Lamb and Gallup both showed the Cowboys vision for moving on from Cooper this offseason in week four, but its the physical run game the 49ers used against the Rams that should excite the Cowboys the most in this matchup.

The same downhill run game that San Francisco used to knock Dallas out of the playoffs last year was on display Monday night, with Jeff Wilson breaking off a 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter. If the Cowboys can use Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to stay ahead of the chains, it should open up throws against a secondary that gave up 239 yards on just 16 Jimmy Garoppolo completions.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A game that felt like a predicted loss when the Cowboys were looking ahead with Rush at quarterback suddenly feels winnable thanks to Rush’s hot streak and the Dallas defense. The Cowboys and 49ers remain the only defenses in the league that have yet to allow over 20 points, with the 49ers doing so against this Rams team while taking the ball away twice.

Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday that his team “somehow has to get by” both the Rams and 49ers to “get where we want to go”, referring to both teams as the top class in the NFC. The Cowboys can’t get caught looking ahead to an equally important Sunday night match up with the East-leading Eagles in week six, but even without Prescott this Sunday there is a lot of recent history between the Rams and Cowboys involving their QB1.

Prescott’s divisional playoff loss at the Rams in 2019 was Jason Garrett’s last playoff game with the Cowboys, as the following season ended his ten year run as head coach. Garrett’s long tenure has made Mike McCarthy’s job status a hotly debated topic with every loss along the way, but in a year where he was given so little to work with in free agency, McCarthy is winning with a backup QB and has the Cowboys set up nicely for Prescott’s return.

He may not be the trendy, innovative, face-of-the-franchise type head coach that Sean McVay is on the opposite sideline this Sunday, but the Cowboys have Kellen Moore running this offense with efficiency to the point where winning on the road with Cooper Rush for the second time in three weeks is within reach. Dan Quinn’s defense could also use another strong showing against an offense like the Rams, to prove they can keep this team in any game, not just against teams they’ve owned in the division.

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