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NFL Game Preview

NFL Week 1 Preview: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Previewing the match-up between the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Los Angeles Rams, focusing on key injuries and game notes.

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WEEK 1 PREVIEWS:
HOU @ KC | NYJ @ BUF | GB @ MIN | PHI @ WAS | CLE @ BAL | IND @ JAX | LV @ CAR | CHI @ DET
SEA @ ATL | MIA @ NE | LAC @ CIN | ARZ @ SF | TB @ NO | DAL @ LAR | PIT @ NYG | TEN @ DEN

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams
When: 9/13 @ 8:20pm ET
Watch: NBC
Point Spread: Rams +2.5
Over/Under: 51.5
Moneyline: Rams +125 | Cowboys -150

Cowboys Key Injuries: Luke Gifford, LB, Hamstring (Q), La’el Collins, OT, Hip (IR), Sean Lee, OLB, Sports Hernia (IR), Jourdan Lewis, CB, Ankle (Q)
Rams Key Injuries: Justin Lawler, LB, Foot (IR), Travin Howard, LB, Knee (IR)

NOTES:

This Sunday night primetime game features two teams coming off disappointing 2019 campaigns. The Cowboys had every chance to win the division but faltered late in the season and finished at a mediocre 8-8. The story of their season was beating up on the league’s bottom-feeders but struggling against tougher opponents. They went 7-2 with a +125 point differential against non-playoff teams but went 1-6 with a -12 point differential against playoff teams. Considering their abysmal record against playoff teams, their point differential suggests that they should have won more of their games. Heading into 2020, the Cowboys offense is arguably the most explosive in the NFC. The addition of first-round receiver CeeDee Lamb rounds out the leagues most impressive trio of receivers. Them combined with a strong rushing attack led by Ezekiel Elliott will be a handful for opposing defenses all season. The concern for Dallas is on the defensive end where they are getting older and losing talent. They lost star corner Byron Jones and pass rusher Robert Quinn in free agency and lost free agent signee Gerald McCoy to a torn ACL during training camp. The star linebacking tandem of Leighton Vander-Esch and Jaylon Smith will have to be spectacular this year and one or more of their young corners will have to emerge this season. Week one against a potent Rams offense will be quite the test for the Dallas defense.

Many in league circles believe the Rams championship window has closed, but don’t tell that to general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay. The moves made by the Rams this offseason suggest this team is all in on this season. The spent their first two draft picks on “luxury positions” in running back Cam Akers and receiver Van Jefferson. They also signed star corner Jalen Ramsey to a lucrative extension. The Rams have stars and good talent all throughout their roster but depth is a major issue. The offensive line is aging and declining and the linebacking group is depleted following the loss of Cory Littleton in free agency. The secondary outside of Jalen Ramsey is unproven but players like Taylor Rapp have flashed upside. For week 1, though, the Rams are healthy and should show the best version of themselves. The Cowboys won last year’s meeting 44-21 but this matchup should prove to be a back and forth shootout. Get your popcorn ready.

Cozine is currently a journalism major at the University of Oregon and part of the SemiPro Media team as a Co-Assistant Editor and Staff Writer. He has a passion for football analytics, as well as studying film to understand what the numbers don't fully capture. Cozine is still holding onto the Jets' Super Bowl win from 1969 to maintain sanity.

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