The Los Angeles Rams will host the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The winner will earn a spot in the NFC Championship Game.
The Rams received a first-round bye by securing the NFC’s No. 1 seed, while the Cowboys punched their tickets to the divisional round by defeating the Seattle Seahawks on Wild Card Weekend.
The Rams vs. Cowboys showdown is scheduled to kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET.
NESN.com’s trio of Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian made their against-the-spread picks for each of this weekend’s divisional-round matchups. Here are their picks for Cowboys vs. Rams.
Dallas Cowboys at (-7) Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Mike: Cowboys. The Rams just haven’t been the same team since losing Cooper Kupp to a knee injury. LA was 9-1 before losing him for the season and is just 4-2 since. Jared Goff has really struggled, with his passer rating being 30 points lower in games without Kupp while completing just 60 percent of his passes compared to the 68.4 percent mark he was completing before the injury. We also don’t know how healthy Todd Gurley is, and even if he’s healthy, Dallas apparently has the sort of defense that has given the Rams fits this season. And I haven’t even mentioned the Rams’ leaky run defense trying to stop Ezekiel Elliott.
Ricky: Rams. Make no mistake, there will be plenty of Cowboys fans in Los Angeles this Saturday. But it’s still a road game, and Dallas has been a much different team away from AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys ranked 23rd in yards per play on the road (5.2) during the regular season, while the Rams ranked second in yards per play at home (6.5). Gurley is an unknown coming off a knee injury, but not playing since Dec. 16 could be a blessing in disguise. The Cowboys ranked 26th at defending running backs in the passing game, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and the Rams should lean heavily on their well-rested, duel-threat All-Pro, particularly in the screen game.
Andre: Cowboys. This will be another game decided by the running attack. The Rams have the worst rush defense in the league, allowing 5.1 yards per carry. This is an appetizing stat for Elliott, who will likely have a huge game on the ground. When Elliott rushes for more than 100 yards, the Cowboys are 7-1 SU this season. Dallas’ strong rush defense also will be able to limit Gurley. The unit limited Seattle’s elite rushing attack to just 73 yards during the wild-card round. If Gurley can’t get it going and Dallas jumps ahead of LA early, expect a high-volume game for Goff. When Goff throws the ball 40-plus times this season, the Rams are 1-3 SU and two of those losses were against elite run defenses (Bears and Saints).
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Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
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