The Los Angeles Rams face their biggest test of the 2017 season on Sunday when they visit Dallas for a showdown with one of the teams considered a Super Bowl contender in the NFC. This game may tell us a lot about whether the Rams are a playoff pretender or contender in 2017.
Rams Defense vs Cowboy Offense
The Rams biggest problem area so far in 2017 has been the rush defense, and it will be sorely tested on Sunday by Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliot, playing behind one of the league's elite offensive lines. A big day by Elliot likely spells victory for Dallas. If the Rams can keep him under control they have a chance. Holding him to 8 yards rushing, as Denver did a couple of weeks ago probably isn't realistic. But anything under 80 yards on the ground would be a victory. I'm somewhat less concerned with the Dallas passing game. Based in his numbers so far this year, calling Dez Bryant an average receiver is probably being kind. The Rams secondary hasn't been great, but it looks like Kayvon Webster will play, which is good news. I'm hoping we get LaMarcus Joyner back as well. Dak Prescott can beat you with his arm--but I'm far more worried about Zeke.
Rams Offense Vs Cowboy Defense
Call me crazy, but I really think the Rams can move the ball against these guys. Dallas's secondary certainly isn't all that. Their pass rush could be a problem, especially against the right side of the Rams O-line. Havenstein and Brown have been better up front recently than in the pre-season, but it's still a concern. Todd Gurley is a major factor here. If he can have a big day it will settle down the Dallas pass rush and keep the ball out of the hands of their offense. Last time I checked it still wasn't certain Sammy Watkins whether would play on Sunday. If not, maybe we will see what Josh Reynolds can do.
The Rams will have the advantage here IF Tavon Austin and Pharoah Cooper can hang onto the ball. That's been a problem, but let's hope the long week for the Rams has allowed them to fix this. The game could well hinge on the answer to that question.
Oddsmakers say Dallas is roughly a 7.5 to 8.5 point favorite. They may be right. But I'm a Rams fan, and hope springs eternal.
Rams 27 Dallas 24