The Los Angeles Rams are set to host the Dallas Cowboys inside brand-new SoFi Stadium for a primetime NFC showdown on “Sunday Night Football.” Both teams enter the 2020 NFL season with high expectations, looking to bounce back from disappointing 2019 campaigns. And while it may just be Week 1, this is a matchup that could very well have playoff implications down the road. Watch Live
The Cowboys will officially kick off the Mike McCarthy era on Sunday night, following a lackluster 10-year run under Jason Garrett in which Dallas never made it past the divisional round of the playoffs. The hope is that the former Packers head coach will take America’s Team back to its former glory as a perennial Super Bowl contender. While that sentiment is
still little more than conjecture and wishful thinking at this point, McCarthy does inherit one of the league’s more talented rosters. That’s particularly true on the offensive side of the football, where Dallas has as much talent as any team in the NFL. A trip west to face the Rams will make for a good first test for the new Cowboys’ regime. Live stream ExpressVPN sign up now
The Rams make their way into the season opener in search of a fresh start as well. In addition to breaking in their new state-of-the-art stadium that came with a price tag of $5.5 billion, they will be sporting new uniforms and a new logo on Sunday night. Sean McVay also brought in new
be enough to right the ship? Salary cap issues didn’t do the Rams any favors, as they lost several high-profile players to free agency or via trade. However, there is still more than enough talent on the roster to make some noise, and McVay is still one of the top offensive minds in the NFL. That leaves plenty of room for optimism that the Rams can return to playoff form in 2020. A win over the Cowboys on Sunday night would be a big step in that direction.
Dallas at Los Angeles
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 13 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Spread: Cowboys -3
Three Things to Watch
- Life after Todd Gurley
Gurley played a huge role in the success of Sean McVay’s offense during the Rams’ run to back-to-back NFC West titles in 2017 and ’18. He also played a part in the demise of McVay’s offense last season. That prompted Los Angeles to move on from the talented running back amid salary cap concerns. Gurley is now in Atlanta, where he looks to rek indle the magic that.
helped him earn Offensive Player of the Year honors just three seasons ago. Despite his drop in production last season, Gurley was a player that commanded plenty of attention from opposing defenses, something that will be sorely missed in the Rams’ offense this season. The question is, is there anyone on the roster that can take his place?
McVay seems to be set on a running back by committee approach to try and fill the void left behind by Gurley. At least, that’s the plan for Sunday night. Career backup Malcolm Brown is expected to get the start against the Cowboys. He is the most experienced running back on the team, although his career 3.9 yards per carry average leaves plenty to be desired.
Darrell Henderson Jr., who was selected by the Rams in the third round of last year’s draft, is currently listed as the No. 2 running back and will play on Sunday night despite a lingering hamstring issue. By far the most intriguing option is second-round draft pick Cam Akers out of Florida State dynamic runner and a solid pass catcher that has drawn comparisons to Kareem Hunt.
If you had to bet on one of these running backs to shine on Sunday night, the smart money would be on him. That being said, Akers is currently listed third on the Rams’ depth chart and his struggles in pass protection could limit his time on the field to some degree. All three running backs will get their shot but running room might prove difficult to come by against Dallas, who somewhat quietly, finished fifth against the run last season and added even more depth to it defensive line this offseason.
- Cowboys look to hit the ground running
The Cowboys absolutely torched the Rams on the ground when these teams met in Week 15 last season. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard each ran for more than 100 yards, as the Dallas ground attack racked up 263 rushing yards and three touchdowns against a Los Angeles defense that had no answers. Could we see more of the same on Sunday night?
It’s hard to envision the Rams being better against the Cowboys’ run game this time around, especially at the second level, where they lost their top three linebackers to free agency — including leading tackler Cory Littleton. And the new linebacker corps, which consists of Samson Ebukam, Leonard Floyd, Micah Kiser and Troy Reeder, doesn’t exactly scream upgrade.
Los Angeles also lost run-stopping safety and second-leading tackler Eric Weddle to retirement. If Elliott and Pollard can get to the second level of the Rams’ defense on Sunday night, there shouldn’t be much resistance.