IRVING, Texas – These are the two biggest variables I've seen from watching the tape on St. Louis this week. Honestly, if the Cowboys can put execute the same gameplan they used last weekend in Tennessee, I think that could be enough to win this game.
Cowboys Win if
Offensively, the Rams don't make many explosive plays, and with the likelihood that Tavon Austin will sit this game out with a sprained knee, their hope of a big play sits with him. Brian Quick and Jared Cook are the best receiving threats and will need attention.
Zac Stacy can wear you down with his running style, but their offense struggles to get consistent movement or push, so there are snaps where you see him having to fight just to get back to the line of scrimmage. The questions at quarterback put the Rams in a bind, because Shaun Hill is limited what he can do physically. If in fact that he does get the start, this Cowboys defensive staff has to feel better about their chances to keep this offense in check.
If Austin Davis gets the start, more focus will need to be placed on his ability to make plays on the move and down the field. Davis has played with poise in these past two games and would be a better option for the Rams. Regardless of who starts for the Rams, for the Cowboys to win this game it is going to once again come down to how well they can play defensively.
The Rams struggle to score points because of the lack of those explosive plays, so if they are able to give a similar performance to what they had against the Titans last week with timely pressure and a turnover or two it should be enough to take care of this game.
Rams Win if
St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has to be concerned with his defense through these first two weeks -- specifically in their inability to stop the run. They are currently ranked 30thin the league against the run, and the Cowboys offense coming to town has done an outstanding job rushing the football. It's a tough matchup for them.
The Rams are no different in their desire to get rushers up the field and put pressure on the quarterback, but in this plan of attack it has left them open scheme-wise to some big runs by the opponent. If you look at the Rams' front seven, with the exception of defensive tackle Michael Brockers, it is a light unit size-wise. It's a unit that is built more for speed than it is to take offenses toe-to-toe and this has been their biggest issue.
As you have heard me say before: if you're a defense that struggles to get off blocks, you are [embedded_ad]
going to struggle to defend the run. The Rams have allowed opponents to rush the ball for over 5.5 yards per carry and that number is not going to allow them to win many games. Scott Linehan is going to test this Rams front to see if they can physically matchup up with his offensive line and tight ends.
I would expect that we might even see some more fullback in the mix as well. If the Rams are going to win this game they are going to have to prove that they can stop the Cowboys running the ball first and that is their bottom line.