Dallas Cowboys (13-3; vs. Los Angeles Rams (4-12; 4-11-1 ATS; 7-9 O/U)
NFL Preseason: Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 9:00pm EST
Line: Dallas -2.5
The Los Angeles Rams will host the Dallas Cowboys in early preseason action Saturday night from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Cowboys posted a 1-3 record in last year’s preseason play and edged the Cardinals 20-18 in the Hall of Fame game last week, and the Rams went 2-2 in last year’s preseason.
Kellen Moore Excels in Hall of Fame Game
The Dallas Cowboys opened their preseason schedule with a 20-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game last Thursday. Cowboys backup quarterback Kellen Moore was solid in the win and earned the praise of head coach Jason Garrett. Moore completed 12 of 17 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Most of the Cowboys starters did not suit up including Dak Presccott, Ezekiel Elliot, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Cowboys fourth string running back Rod Smith also had a good showing in the Hall of Fame game, rushing for 64 yards on 18 carries. The Cowboys feature a ton of depth at running back which includes Ezekiel Elliot, Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, all whom could see action in this contest. Alfred Morris made the most of his seven carries last week by accumulating 42 yards, good for an average of six yards per carry. The Cowboys will likely give their offensive starters some action in this contest. Cowboys second round pick in the 2017 draft Chidobe Awuzie got his first taste of the NFL against Arizona and made two tackles. The 22-year old cornerback will see some action this season.
The Cowboys averaged 26.3 points per game in 2016, ranking them fifth in the NFL. The Cowboys defense was tremendous last year, allowing an average of only 19.1 points per game, good for fifth overall.
Goff Faces Pressure after Uninspiring Rookie Season
The Los Angeles Rams enter the 2017 season with new 31-year old head coach Sean McVay taking the reins. McCoy does have some young talent on his roster but this is clearly a team that is still not ready to compete for a playoff spot. The Rams do feature 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff who had a tough time in his first taste of the NFL last year, throwing for 1089 yards with a 5:7 TD to INT ratio in seven games. Running back Todd Gurley also took a step back last year after a strong rookie campaign, rushing for 1089 yards and averaged only 3.2 yards per carry. The 23-year old running back has even been used as a receiver during training camp under the new coaching regime. The Rams will be a lot more creative under their new coach which should add some excitement. Rams backup quarterback Sean Mannion will see some action in this contest. The 25-year old quarterback has only attempted 13 passes over the last two seasons and is a big question mark. If Goff were to flounder this year it’s hard to imagine Mannion succeeding in his place.
The Rams weak offense struggled last season, averaging an NFL low 14 points per game. The Los Angeles defense conceded an average of 24.6 points in 2016, ranking them 23rd in the NFL.
The Dallas Cowboys are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 6 games against the NFC.
The Los Angeles Rams are:
- home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between the Cowboys and Rams.
I am siding with the Rams in this contest. Jared Goff has a lot to prove and I am confident he will come through with a solid effort. He is more comfortable with the new offensive scheme and although just preseason, a strong performance from Goff can silence a few critics. Also, Rams backup QB Sean Mannion was productive in last year’s preseason, throwing four touchdowns with only one interception. The Rams defeated the Cowboys 28-24 in their first preseason game last season, and I am confident they can take this one.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams
The Cowboys and Rams played to a very high scoring game in last year’s preseason opener. The Rams scored 28 points against the Cowboys in the 2016 preseason and I expect a strong performance from Goff and Mannion, and the over is 4-1 in the Rams last five games against the NFC. Dallas was able to score 20 points in the Hall of Fame game with many second and third stringers, so they should have a strong night offensively.