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Gut Feeling

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Gut Feeling: Predictions For Cowboys & Rams


Last year, the Cowboys used the "backs to the wall" mentality that helped propel them to win seven of the final eight games and claim the NFC East. Whether or not their backs are pressed up against the wall now is debatable, but it's getting close as the Eagles have now tied them for first in the NFC East at 6-7.

While the Rams have an 8-5 mark, they are just as desperate, if not more, as they sit on the outside looking in for the NFC playoff picture.

Both teams have plenty of incentive to get this win this weekend. Let's see what the staff thinks in this week's 'gut feeling' for Sunday's game at AT&T Stadium.

Rob Phillips: At some point, things will turn for the Cowboys. I still believe they'll win this division. And, beware a week in which most are counting them out, like the Saints game last year and the Eagles game earlier this year. The last time a Cowboys team lost four in a row was 2015 with a depleted roster, and this is a more talented and overall healthier group. I've picked them pretty consistently all year, and I'm changing course for this week knowing full well they're capable of a turnaround. To win Sunday, they'll have to handle the same challenges that gave them problems against the Rams in the playoffs a year ago. Todd Gurley is once again a focal point for L.A., and a successful run game is restoring the full capabilities of their offense. The Dallas defense has to play more sound, more fundamental football. But I also think they're the key to sparking the entire team, like in the Philly game before the bye. A takeaway or two would take serious pressure off the offense to drive long fields.

Nick Eatman: The Rams are coming in hot, winners of two straight. The Cowboys are actually colder than this Texas weather, which feels more like fall. This is a perfect example of "just when you think one way about the NFL … boom!" Well, I'm still not seeing the boom, not in a good way. I just don't see how the Cowboys get this win. They haven't been consistent enough on offense to move the ball against good defenses. It's been well-documented how the Cowboys can't be a Top 10 defense or a team with a winning record and the Rams have both. The Cowboys defense has had problems against good runners and here comes Todd Gurley. And they've also shown the inability to stop creative offenses and that's what the Rams usually bring to the table. Yes, 10 days off should help but other than weird NFL logic that says what comes up must come down and vice versa, I'm just not seeing the Cowboys able to pull this one out. I'll take the Rams 24-14.

David Helman: I can come up with a solid list of reasons why the Cowboys could beat the Rams on Sunday. Jared Goff isn't a super mobile quarterback, so the pass rush could have some success rattling him. Amari Cooper is as healthy as he's been in two months and could have some success against Jalen Ramsey, and the Cowboys' offensive line is playing well enough that they could limit Aaron Donald from wrecking the game. Even with as much negativity as there is around this team, they're still talented enough to play well and win this game. Having said all that, I need to see it to believe. After the performance we saw in Chicago, I can't in good conscience pick the Cowboys to win a game against a team fighting for a wild card spot. To do that, they would have to play well on both sides of the ball, and they haven't done that all year. I think Cooper is going to have a really nice day, and the Cowboys will score some points. But the defense doesn't match up well with this Rams offense, and that'll be the difference in a 30-24 loss.

Mickey Spagnola: My NFL philosophy says the more you win in this league the closer you are to losing one, and that the more you lose, the closer you are to winning one. Just the percentages. So it's time for the Cowboys, right? So do you play the percentages or rely on what we've seen over this three-game losing streak, because nothing suggest the 6-7 Cowboys can beat the 8-5 Rams, riding a two-game winning streak. Or what about this? Being fresh. That's right, the Cowboys looked like a tired team that second half against Chicago. Remember, played four games in 19 days, three of those on the road and one as far away as possible (Foxborough, Mass.), in the cold and rain. That weather and travel will drain a man. Not offering an excuse. But a reason for bewilderment. We'll see.

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