The Dallas Cowboys hit the road to take on the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday. Of course, the Rams are the defending champions of the NFL, but they are struggling to get going in 2022. They have a 2-2 record, but they are still prohibitive favorites over the 3-1 Cowboys by 5.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Some of that is the Rams being at home, some of it is the Cowboys being without Dak Prescott, and some of it is the fact the Rams are the defending champs.
Let’s take a quick look statistically (all stats from Pro Football Reference) and historically to see what this matchup may hold in store.
The Cowboys offense and the Rams offense are just about on the same level so far this year as far as scoring points. Dallas is 28th in the league with a 17.8 ppg average while Los Angeles is 29th with 17.5 ppg. That would seem off considering the Rams have Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp while Dallas is using a backup QB in Cooper Rush.
But some of the keys to the Rams’ problems on offense are turnovers and sacks. Dallas on has two turnovers so far, tied for the best in the NFL. The Rams are tied for the second-most turnovers with nine. The Cowboys QBs have been sacked six times, third fewest in the league; the Rams have been sacked 16 times, tied for second most. The Rams offensive line is leaky and the Cowboys defense will look to take advantage.
Even though the Cowboys struggled to run the ball last week, they still are decent in that category. They average 104 rushing yards per game which is 19th, but the Rams only average 68.5 rushing yard per game and that is 30th in the league. So the Rams can’t run the ball well so far, and they are having trouble protecting Stafford leading to some real issues on that side of the ball. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have avoided those huge negative plays when they have the ball.
The Cowboys defense is performing better than the Rams. Dallas is fourth in the league by only allowing 4.6 yards per play. The Rams allow 5.6 per play which is 16th in the league.
It’s the Cowboys pass rush that really stands out. They lead the league in pressure (55) while the Rams are last in pressures (17). The Cowboys are tied for second in sacks with 15, the Rams are tied for fourth worst at seven.
The Cowboys can cover and rush the passer, possibly giving them the advantage in the game.
Historically, the Cowboys and Rams are tied all-time in victories when you include the playoffs at 18 apiece. The Rams won the last contest 20-17 back in the season-opener of 2020. Dallas has won four of the last six regular-season meeting between the two teams.
Ezekiel Elliott has had productive days against the Rams with 298 yards in three regular season games. He also has four touchdowns and a yards per carry average of 4.4. Back in the 2019 season Tony Pollard set his career high versus the Rams with 131 rushing yards. If the Cowboys can run the ball effectively, they will make life much easier for Cooper Rush trying to avoid Aaron Donald.
If the Cowboys do need the pass, CeeDee Lamb has become an explosive, big-play target. He is tied with Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown with 11 passes for 15 or more yards, tops in the league. With Michael Gallup back, the middle of the field should be more open for Lamb, who is making good on his WR1 potential.
The Rams may be favored, but if their offensive line plays as poorly as it has in some of their games this season, the Cowboys stand a decent chance at an upset.