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Gut Feeling

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Gut Feeling: Staff Predictions For Cowboys-Rams


All the obstacles have been avoided, the hurdles have been cleared. Now, it's time for the Cowboys to finally close the books on this crazy offseason and get ready for some football. The Cowboys travel to Los Angeles this weekend for Sunday night's game with the Rams.

The staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 1 matchup:

Rob Phillips: This is my 14th season covering the Cowboys and I've never felt less sure about an opener. With no preseason games, the Rams are a complete mystery to me, and Cowboys training camp was so compressed (understandably) that it's hard to know exactly what to expect with new schemes and largely a new staff. Here's what I think: the Rams still have a chance to be prolific offensively even without Todd Gurley, but the Cowboys' defensive front was arguably the most impressive part of the roster in camp. I'm really curious to see the rotation and how much they can pressure Jared Goff, because when he can set his feet, he's extremely accurate. Same thing on the other side of the ball: if the Cowboys' offensive line at less than full strength can do a decent job of controlling the line of scrimmage, they'll be in good shape. Overall I like the Cowboys' balance on offense and the playmakers they've added on defense. I'll take Dallas in a relatively high scoring game.

David Helman: I feel like I might as well be sitting down to watch the latest Batman movie – tons of excitement, with very little detail about what to expect. For months, I've been collecting snippets of information. Rumors, gossip, the occasional sneak peek video. But honestly, on the eve of this 2020 season, what on Earth do we actually know? We know the Cowboys have a bunch of talented players on offense, and the Rams have the most talented player on defense. In every other aspect, we're flying completely blind. So until we get more data, I'm not going to overthink this. The Cowboys' offense should be among the best in the league. Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are both amazing players, but I don't think they have enough help – and they can't do it all on their own. I think the Rams' offense is a lot better than people want to give it credit for, especially now that their offensive line is healthy. But I think the Cowboys are better suited to stop the run than they have been in the recent past, and I also don't trust Jared Goff to be mistake-free against this pass rush. In a back-and-forth game, I trust the Cowboys to make more plays and open SoFi Stadium with a 27-23 win.

Kyle Youmans: There's so much excitement and such high expectations heading into the season that we sometimes lose track of reality. Sure, on paper, the Cowboys are much improved and seem to be the superior team over the Rams. However, this is still very much a losable game. Sean McVay has never lost in a season opener (3-0), never had a losing season, and remembers everything as a head coach. You better believe he's thinking back to the 44-21 beat-down the Cowboys handed them last season. I think the first game at SoFi Stadium will belong to the home team because I'm worried the L.A. receivers will help them get off to a quick start against a thin secondary. It doesn't mean I think the season is lost, but this is a tough first matchup.

Nick Eatman: I've got to be honest, I wasn't so sure we would be doing "Gut Feeling" here on this date, but you've got to give the NFL and its teams a lot of credit. They've pulled it off and here we are, about to have a real game. Now the real hard part – figuring out what's going to happen. In a situation like this, I can almost see every scenario. I see a close win for the Cowboys and the Rams. I could see LA getting off to a big start and running away with the game and because we saw this last December, I can visually see the Cowboys blowing out the Rams, too. So which one is it? Give me Dallas in a close game. I've got Michael Gallup having the best day of any receiver. I've got an interception by Anthony Brown and I've got former Rams kicker, now Cowboys kicker Greg Zeurlein booting the game-winning kick. Give me Dallas, 23-20.

Mickey Spagnola: In honor of the last time I ever nailed one of these to the point, 30 years ago when the Cowboys went into RFK to defeat the then undefeated Washington Football Team, even after Steve Beuerlein had to replace the injured Troy Aikman early in the third quarter, the Cowboys will christen SoFi Stadium with the identical score, a 24-21 victory over the Rams to start this season 1-0 for the third time in four years.

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