Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#421 Dallas Cowboys vs.
#422 Los Angeles Rams
Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 10:00pm EDT
Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#421 Dallas
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When and where: August 17, 2019, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI, 10:00 PM ET

The Dallas Cowboys table their contractual issues for a Week 2 preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. Neither team had the best of preseason openers the previous week with the Cowboys falling to the San Francisco 49ers and the Rams losing to the Oakland Raiders. Which team’s depth will reign supreme on Saturday?

No Zeke, no problem?

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes he’s found the answer to his Ezekiel Elliott problem. Drum roll, please?

Tony Pollard.

Jones believes the rookie fourth-round draft pick is ready to spearhead the running attack behind quarterback Dak Prescott, while Elliott continues to hold out for a better contract.

“I certainly thought he had a good account of himself,” Jones said, according to David Helman of Cowboys.com via CBS Sports. “He looks confident out there, we know he’s inordinately understanding of what he does and can do. We’ve seen him do it, we know he’s capable of, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.”

Not to rain on the Pollard parade, but the Cowboys clearly aren’t contending for any championships without Elliott in the backfield. The entire situation in Dallas right now is playing out like that meme of a cartoon character sitting at a table in a burning building, telling himself everything is fine. Prescott is a solid game-managing quarterback capable of running a balanced offense that doesn’t exclusively go through him.

Pollard wasn’t even the best running back at Memphis. What makes Jones think he can stand in for an All-Pro and a two-time NFL rushing yards leader? The Cowboys were defeated on the road in the preseason opener last week by the San Francisco 49ers. Pollard got only four carries for 16 yards.

Then there’s the Prescott dilemma. The former Mississippi State standout has put up 10,876 yards with 67 TDs and 25 picks in three years as a starter with an average quarterback rating of 96. He reportedly turned down a $30 million deal, which sounds ridiculous for somebody who has never won a playoff game. Yet in this market, where Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo are making outrageous money, he might be smart in asking for $40 million (though that report was shot down).

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Don’t expect to see Todd Gurley in the preseason

The Rams are taking the cautious approach with franchise running back Todd Gurley, who was banged up down the stretch of the team’s failed Super Bowl run last season. One thing is certain: The Rams are a completely different offense when Gurley is 100 percent.

“Todd is feeling really good,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, via Bleacher Report. “He’s continuing to really show a lot of the things that make him such an elite player, and I think he’s feeling really good. It’s been a smart plan with Todd…and we’re going to continue to follow that.”

The plan McVay is alluding to would likely exclude Gurley from preseason activities in hopes he’ll be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season.

However, we should see quarterback Jared Goff at some point for the first time since his horrifying experience at Super Bowl LIII, when the New England Patriots completely shut him down and held the Rams offense to three points. The offense looked flat in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders, which could prompt McVay to roll Goff out for a drive or two to help instill confidence in the unit.

Two additions in the offseason that should help on the field are veteran safety Eric Weddle and former Green Bay All-Pro Clay Matthews.

“They’ve been great,” said Goff. “Weddle in particular, just finding his dialogue throughout practice and throughout the week, trying to get a better understanding of what they’re doing, then I’ll ask him what he sees.”

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The Cowboys are an absolute mess right now. Granted, they could easily settle all of their contractual issues before the season begins, but it can’t be productive for young talent to have the focus surrounding their team being centered on Elliott sitting out. There is also the recent news of Prescott reportedly turning down a contract offer from the Cowboys.

I’d wager the Rams letting their starters play a bit in this game since they were mostly absent in Week 1. This will be a great opportunity for McVay to help build some confidence and at least get his offense moving a bit better with Goff behind center. If the Rams start their first-team defense, Jones and the Cowboys would have a real opportunity to counter with their first-team offense and see what life would really be like without Elliott.

It won’t be the happy ending Jones thinks it would be.

The Rams are the deeper team with weapons across the board. They’ll tap into that arsenal to knock off the Cowboys and get their first preseason victory.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

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This is still only the second game of the preseason, which makes it unlikely either team will play their starters for very long—if at all. Neither team could even muster scoring a touchdown in the preseason opener. I wouldn’t bank on them scoring a combined 43.5 points a week later. Give me the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (43.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.