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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Rams vs. Cowboys Prediction

Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 4:25pm EST
AT&T Stadium, Arlington

This article covers a past game!

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In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 11:23am EST

Introduction

The Los Angeles Rams will collide with the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC battle Sunday afternoon from AT&T Stadium. The Rams came through with a convincing 28-12 home win over the Seahawks on Sunday night and the Cowboys dropped a 31-24 road decision to the Bears in their previous contest. These teams last met in last year's NFC Divisional Playoff in a game the Rams won by a 30-22 score on their home field.

Los Angeles Rams Review

The Los Angeles Rams are involved in a heated playoff hunt. They recorded a dominating 28-12 home win over the Seahawks on Sunday night to remain only one game back of the Vikings for the last spot in the NFC Wildcard, and remain three games back of first place in the division. LA. is aiming for their third consecutive win in this one. Jared Goff tossed two touchdown passes in Sunday’s win, but he also threw two interceptions. The 25-year old QB is having a mediocre season, posting 3712 passing yards with a 15:14 TD to INT ratio.

The Rams used Todd Gurley II heavily against Seattle and he amassed 79 yards on 23 carries. The veteran running back is up to 712 rushing yards on an average of 4.1 yards per attempt. Robert Woods is the Rams’ hottest receiver right now. The seven-year veteran tallied 98 receiving yards last week, and he has 933 receiving yards on the year. The Rams offense is back on track with a combined 62 points in their last two games.

The Los Angeles defense is at its best right now. They stifled a potent Seahawks offense last week and the Cardinals in week 13. The Rams stand 10th against the pass and 12th against the run. L.A. is averaging 23.9 points, ranking them 12th in the NFL. They are limiting opponents to 20.2 points, placing them 11th overall. The Rams feature a 4-2 road record.

Dallas Cowboys Review

The Dallas Cowboys are in must-win mode. They have lost three consecutive games and four out of their last five games overall. Dallas has struggled against teams with a winning record this season which continued in a 31-24 road loss to the Bears last Thursday night. Dak Prescott has not been sharp in the current slide, recording only three touchdown passes against two picks in his last three games. The 26-year old QB is accumulating a ton of passing yards which included 334 passing yards in Chicago on Thursday, and he is up to 4122 passing yards accompanied with a 24:11 TD to INT ratio on the season.

Ezekiel Elliot continues to produce, and he is up tho 1071 rushing yards on the season. The 24-year old star running back hasn’t seen quite as many carries as usual recently. Cowboys’ receiving leader Amari Cooper had added another 83 receiving yards to his season total against the Bears. The fifth-year WR continues to be targeted frequently by Dak, and he has accrued 1054 receiving yards on the year. The Cowboys offense has not been nearly as effective recently, scoring 24 or fewer points in three straight games.

The Dallas defense has been a problem. They squandered 382 total yards against a subpar Bears offense last week. They continue to excel against the pass with a pass defense that stands seventh in the NFL but has fallen to 19th against the run. The Cowboys are scoring an average of 25.7 points, good for ninth in the NFL. They are allowing an average of 20.5 points, placing them 12th overall. Dallas is 3-3 on their home field.

The Running Game

Los Angeles Rams Running Offense
vs. Dallas Cowboys Running Defense

Los Angeles Rams Running Offense

The Rams usually pass much more than they run and they rank down at 21st in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Rams have been careful with Todd Gurley’s usage due to knee problems, although he logged 23 carries last week which was his second-highest total of the season for a game total of 79 yards. The 25-year old RB has not recorded a 100-yard game yet this season but has rushed for at least 90 yards three times. Gurley II has 721 rushing yards on an average of 4.1 yards per attempt.

"I think we're still working through that, but didn't have anything to do with (load management)," McVay said as he denied the Rams were trying to limit Gurley. "Shoot, we're just trying to win a game. So certainly it wasn't ever with the mindset of looking ahead before anything was accomplished."

-Sean McVay and Todd Gurley’s usage. (Source:  Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports)

Rams #2 RB Malcolm Brown usually sees about 5-6 carries per game. The fourth-year RB tallied 21 yards on 12 carries against the Seahawks last week, and he has recorded 230 rushing yards, while Darrell Henderson Jr. has 140 yards.

The Rams' offensive line is average. They were struggling earlier this season but are providing better protection recently.

Dallas Cowboys Run Defense

The Cowboys rush defense has not been sharp recently, allowing over 100 rushing yards in three straight games which included 151 yards against the Bears. They have dipped to 17th in the NFL against the run as a result.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith is having a terrific season and leads the way with 120 combined tackles and seven tackles for a loss. Leighton Vander-Esch is another linebacker effective against the run. The 23-year old has missed the last three games with a neck injury and is listed as questionable for this one. Vander-Esch had made four tackles for a loss. Linebacker Sean Lee is also questionable.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is an outstanding run stuffer. He has made a team-leading 12.5 tackles for a loss this season. Christian Covington is also known for his ability to defend the run, and he has four tackles for a loss. Dallas owns a 20% stuff rate, placing them just above the league average of 19%.

Stats

Rams

Rushing Attempts per Game: 25.4 (18th)

Rushing Yards: 1292 (21st)

Average Rushing Yards Per Game: 99.4 (21st)

Average Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.9 (23rd)

Cowboys

Opponent Carries Per Game: 26.4 (17th)

Opponent Rushing Yards: 1428 (19th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game: 109.8 (19th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry: 4.2 (12th)

Who has the Edge?

I am calling this one a draw. The Rams did manage to rush for a remarkable 160 yards against Seattle last week, but overall Todd Gurley hasn’t been particularly efficient. The veteran RB has averaged less than four yards per attempt in three out of his last four games. The Cowboys are a bit below average against the run but the Rams are placed 21st in the NFL in rushing yards.

Advantage: Push

Dallas Cowboys Running Offense
vs. Los Angeles Rams Running Defense

Dallas Cowboys Running Offense

The Cowboys have not utilized Ezekiel Elliot as frequently recently as they have opted with their passing game more often. Elliot had several games earlier this season with well over 20 rush attempts but has rushed 19 or fewer times in three out of his last four games. The 24-year old star running back is always a big threat and he ranks fifth in the NFL with 1071 rushing yards on an average of 4.4 yards per attempt. Elliot has three rushes of at least 20 yards this season.

Cowboys backup RB Tony Pollard is expected to return after sitting out last week due to injury. The 22-year old usually only takes 3-4 handoffs per game and he has tallied 264 rushing yards on an average of 4.6 yards per attempt.

The Cowboys are known to have a solid offensive line. They are playing the remainder of the season without guard Connor Williams who has a knee injury.

Los Angeles Rams Run Defense

The Rams are solid against the run. They held the Cardinals to 74 rushing yards in week 13 and limited a potent Seahawks running game to 106 yards last week.  The Rams are 12th in the NFL against the run.

Linebacker Cory Littleton is having a productive season, accumulated a team-leading 112 tackles on the season and has 4.5 tackles for a loss. Littleton accrued 10 tackles against Seattle last week. Clay Mathews is having an outstanding year in his first year with Los Angeles. The veteran linebacker has made 10.5 tackles for a loss in 10 games played.

Dante Fowler Jr. is great against the run. The 25-year old linebacker has stuffed opposing runners behind the line of scrimmage six times this season. You can’t talk about the Rams defense without mentioned Aaron Donald. The star defensive tackle has racked up a remarkable 21 tackles for a loss. Samson Ebukam has made 7.5 tackles for a loss, while defensive tackle Michael Brockers has 4.5 The rams have stuffed opponents 17% of the time, placing them below the league average of 19%.

Stats

Cowboys

Rushing Attempts per Game: 27.1 (10th)

Rushing Yards: 1613 (10th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Game: 124.1 (10th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Carry: 4.6 (7th)

Rams

Opponent Carries Per Game: 27.6 (26th)

Opponent Rushing Yards: 1356 (12th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game: 104.3 (12th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.8 (4th)

Who has the Edge?

I am giving the edge to the Cowboys here. The Rams stand 12th in the NFL against the run but they can be solved. I expect Dallas to heavily implement Elliot into the offense in this game. Elliot managed 81 yards on 19 carries against a stifling Bears defense last week. The Cowboys stand 10th in the NFL with an average of 124 rushing yards per game, and Elliot should come up big in this one.

Advantage: Dallas Cowboys

The Passing Game

Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense
vs. Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense

Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense

The Rams continue to thrive in the air and they have climbed to sixth in the NFL in passing yards as a result. Jared Goff is having an interesting season. The 25-year old QB owns a 15:14 TD to INT ratio, and he is clearly having issues with turnovers as seen in his 14 interceptions but he has collected a remarkable 3712 passing yards. Goff was able to register 293 yards against a good Seattle defense last week but again he threw another two picks. He has now tossed at least one interception in four out of his last five games.

“I think this is a different team now with a different mentality,” left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “I think we’re shooting our shot in the next three weeks. You can certainly see signs of last year. You don’t control your future, but we control how we come out here.”

-Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth on the Rams' recent success. (Source: AP News)

Cooper Kupp continues to lead the Rams with 990 receiving yards but he has not been as involved in the offensive gameplan recently. The 26-year old WR has tallied 65 or fewer receiving yards in five consecutive games which included 45 yards against the Seahawks last week. Fortunately, Robert Woods has stepped up in a big way recently. The 27-year old receiver is red-hot, bringing in at least 90 receiving yards in four straight games which included over 170 yards against the Cardinals earlier this month, and Woods has 933 receiving yards.

Brandin Cooks has only made four receptions over his last four games and he stands third in team receiving with 458 yards. Tight end Tyler Higbee is locked in, posting over 100 receiving yards in two straight games and he has 435 yards on the season.

Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense

Dallas has not been quite as effective against the pass recently, although they still rank seventh in the NFL, and overall they have a good secondary. They were not at their best last week, squandering 244 passing yards and three touchdowns to Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears.

The Cowboys’ pass rush has been mediocre, ranking 15th in the NFL with 34 sacks on the year. Defensive end Christian Covington is having an outstanding season and he leads Dallas with 9.5 sacks, while fellow end DeMarcus Lawrence has five sacks.

Cowboys #1 corner Byron Jones is having a solid season. The veteran corner features a terrific 73 grade on PFF and he has broken up five passes. Jones will be defending Kupp or Woods.

Chidobe Awuzie leads the team with 10 pass deflections. The 24-year old cornerback has allowed 43 receptions on 63 targets and he has one pick. Jourdan Lewis is another corner worth a mention. The third-year CB has made two interceptions. Safety Jeff Heath has deflected five passes.

Stats

Rams

Passes Completed: 307 (8th)

Average Yards Per Completion: 7.6 (13th)

Passing Yards Per Game: 276.8 (6th)

Passing Touchdowns: 15 (26th)

Cowboys

Opponent Passing Yards Per Game: 216.4 (7th)

Opponent Passes Completed: 287 (16th)

Opponent Completion Percentage: 65.2%: (25th)

Opponent TD Passes: 17: (9th)

Who has the Edge?

I am giving a slight edge to the Rams. The Cowboys have not been nearly as sharp against the pass recently, and I expect Goff to come through with another productive effort. Goff registered 424 passing yards against the Cardinals in week 13, and he logged 293 passing yards against the Seahawks last week. The Cowboys have a mediocre pass rush so I expect Goff to have time in the pocket.

Advantage: Los Angeles Rams

Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense
vs. Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense

Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense

The Cowboys have leaned on their passing game more than their ground game recently. Dak Prescott has attempted over 45 passes in four out of his last five games overall. The 26-year old QB has only tossed three touchdowns in his last three games, and he has eclipsed 300 passing yards in two straight games. Prescott has tallied 4122 passing yards with a 24:11 TD to INT ratio on the season.

"I can't put a finger on it," said Prescott, the NFL's passing leader. "I wish I could right now. If I could we wouldn't be in this situation, we would be getting over this and out of this slump, but that's the most frustrating part, we have the skill level, we have the players, we have the chemistry at times, But we're not playing together as a team, complementary enough when we need to, and we need to figure it out."

-Dak Prescott after last Thursday’s loss. (Source: AP News)

Dallas features one of the top receiving cores in the NFL. Amari Cooper has been targeted 19 times by Prescott in the last two games and he has 168 receiving yards in that span. The 25-year old has eclipsed 100 receiving yards four times this season, and he has amassed 1054 receiving yards.

Michael Gallup continues to shine. The second-year WR brought in another 109 receiving yards against the Bears last week, and he is up to 905 receiving yards on 55 receptions. Randall Cobb has cooled off slightly, registering 96 receiving yards in his last two games. The veteran receiver has 677 receiving yards. Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten made five receptions against the Bears last week, and he has tallied 455 receiving yards on the year.

Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense

The Rams defense is playing to their full potential right now and they are especially effective against the pass. They limited a hot Russell Wilson to only 242 passing yards and zero touchdowns, plus they made one interception. The Rams rank 10th in the NFL against the pass.

Their success begins with an effective pass rush. L.A. stands fourth in the NFL with 43 sacks on the year. The dominating Aaron Donald leads the way with 11 sacks. The 28-year old defensive tackle has tallied three sacks in his last two games. Linebacker Clay Matthews is second in team sacks with eight on the year.

The Rams feature effective cornerbacks in Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey. Hill is having a great season, sporting a 77.9 grade on PFF and he has only allowed 23 receptions on 50 targets from opposing QB’s. Hill has deflected eight passes along with two picks.

Jalen Ramsey has yet to make an interception since joining the Rams in a trade with Jacksonville. The 25-year old corner has conceded 41 captions in 59 targets. Safety Cory Littleton is having a great season with eight pass deflection while Eric Weddle has four.

Stats

Cowboys

Passes Completed: 325 (3rd)

Average Yards Per Completion: 8.3 (3rd)

Passing Yards Per Game: 307 (1st)

Passing Touchdowns: 24 (10th)

Rams

Opponent Passing Yards Per Game: 221.2 (10th)

Opponent Passes Completed: 290 (17th)

Opponent Completion Percentage: 61.8%: (7th)

Opponent TD Passes: 18: (12th)

Who has the Edge?

I am giving a slight edge to the Rams. The Rams are finally clicking defensively, especially against the pass. They sacked Russell Wilson five times last week and I expect their pass rush to get to Dak Prescott who has been sacked six times in his last two games. Moreover, Prescott has connected on less than 60% of his passes in two out of his last three games, and he owns a 3:3 TD to INT ratio in that span.

Advantage: Los Angeles Rams

Intangibles

Los Angeles Rams

Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein is having a solid season, converting on 22 of his 28 field goals for a 76% efficiency. Zuerlein has five misses in the 40-49 yard range and his longest was 58 yards. JoJo Natson lead the Rams with 289 return yards. The 25-year old WR is averaging 22.2 yards per return.

Rams’ coach Sean McVay seems to have his team back on track at the right time. McVay led the Rams to an NFC West title in his first two seasons but will not win the division this year. He features a 34-15 record as an NFL head coach.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher is having an inconsistent season. He has missed 10 field goals, connecting on 20 of his 30 attempts. Four of his misses were in the 40-48 yard range, and his longest is a 63-yarder. Tony Pollard has registered a team-leading 147 return yards on 10 returns.

Jason Garrett has been the subject of criticism recently in the Cowboys losing streak. There are plenty of rumors Jerry Jones will let him go after the season. Garrett has led Dallas to three NFC East titles and he owns an 83-66 record as an NFL head coach.

Who has the Edge?

I am giving the edge to the Rams. Jason Garrett has made some bad decisions and continues to be criticized in the media. Sean McVay has his team on the same page heading into the final stretch and the young coach established a very effective game plan against Seattle last week, and I expect McVay out-coach Garrett.

Advantage: Los Angeles Rams

Final Outlook

I am confident the Rams can come away with a solid road win and cover the small spread. The Rams are clicking in all areas right now after underachieving most of the season, and they are a difficult team to beat when they are on their game. The Rams defense will have a big impact on this game. They have racked up 11 sacks in their last two games. Moreover, the L.A. defense has not conceded a passing touchdown while making two interceptions in their last two games.

Furthermore, the Cowboys defense has hit a bump, squandering an average of 25 points in their last five games overall. Jared Goff has turned the corner accumulating 717 passing yards with four touchdowns in his last two games, and I expect another strong performance from the talented QB. Dallas is not playing with any confidence or swagger, and I expect Los Angeles to take advantage.

The top supporting trends found on covers.com are:

The Los Angeles Rams are:

  • 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.
  • 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road favorite.
  • 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against the NFC.

The Dallas Cowboys are:

  • 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record.
  • 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games against a team with a winning road record.
  • 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game.

Latest Updates, Injury Reports, and Line Movements

Injuries

There are not many injuries for either team. Rams’ tight end Gerald Everett (408 receiving yards) is out. Offensive lineman Rob Havenstein is listed as doubtful with a knee injury on the final injury report.

The Cowboys' biggest injury is to linebacker Leighton Vander Esch which is a big loss. He stands second in team tackles. The veteran linebacker has been out for the last three games due to a neck injury and he will not play. Another linebacker in Sean Lee did not practice and is listed as questionable on the injury report. Lee has 62 tackles on the year.

The line has moved quite significantly. The Cowboys opened as -2.5 to -3 point favorites on most books and the line has shifted towards the Rams as a one-point favorite as of Saturday afternoon. According to wunderdog.com, bettors are piling onto the Rams as 70% of the money is on the Rams.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

Additional Insiders' Best Bets

Full-game Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I anticipate a defensive battle. The L.A. defense has been among the best in the NFL recently, holding their opponent to 17 or fewer points in seven out of their last eight games. The Cowboys offense has not been nearly as effective recently and I expect their woes to continue in this one. The under is also 4-1 in the Cowboys’ last five home games against the Rams.

In addition, the Cowboys defense should be able to contain the Rams. While I expect a strong game from Jared Goff, he only has four touchdown passes over his last five games and I expect a Cowboys' pass defense that stands seventh in the NFL to at least limit Goff’s production. The under is 7-1 in the Rams’ last eight games overall, and that trend should continue in this one.

Prediction: Under

Full-game Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I am opting for the under on the Cowboys team total which can be found on PointsBet. The Rams defense is locked in and that is bad news for Dallas. They just held a red-hot Seahawks team to 12 points, and have allowed 12 or fewer points in three out of their last four games. The Rams also have no significant defensive injuries. The Cowboys have not been able to score more than 15 points in two out of their last three games and I expect the Rams to shut them down in this one.

Prediction: Cowboys Team Total: Under 23.5

Half-time Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I am opting with the Rams on the halftime total as well. The Rams offense is hot, especially in the first half where they have averaged a sizzling 15.7 points in their last three games. The Rams defense is also stellar as they have conceded an average of only 9.2 points in the first half this season, placing them sixth overall.

Prediction: L.A. Rams -0.5

Half-time Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I am sticking with the under on the first half total. The Cowboys are really struggling to generate points in the first half recently. They are only averaging 6.7 points in the opening half in their last three games which is one of the lowest outputs in the NFL. Moreover, the Rams have only conceded an average of 7.1 points on the road in the first half this season which is the second-best in the NFL.

Prediction: Under 23.5

Half-time Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The over on Jared Goff’s passing total is another solid prop. Goff has posted at least 250 passing yards in eight of 13 games on the season which makes this total of 257 yards more than reasonable. The Cowboys defense had trouble against a subpar Bears’ passing offense last week, and Goff is coming off a 293-yard performance against the Seahawks in his latest action.

Prediction: Jared Goff Passing Total: Over 257
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.