2016-Present

Week 4 Preview: Comparing the matchups for the Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles.

The 2-1 Los Angeles Rams will face the 2-1 Dallas Cowboys in a Week 4 matchup that suddenly appears to be an attractive game. Believe it or not, the Rams enter the game boasting the league’s best overall offense. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, despite their recent offensive struggles, still boast one of the league’s best ground attacks.

The biggest surprise of this young season so far has to be the play of second-year QB Jared Goff. Goff throws the ball downfield with accuracy and confidence, showing maturity that wasn’t there under former head coach Jeff Fisher. He will start the game with the Cowboys completing 70 percent of his passes with having a QB rating of 118.2. Look for Goff and head coach Sean McVay to test the Dallas secondary early.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hopes to continue his resurgence after a rough early stretch of the season. Prescott led the Cowboys to a 13-3 mark last season with his pinpoint accuracy and incredible mobility outside of the pocket. However, he hasn’t had the same protection by his offensive line.

In Week 2, the Denver Broncos continuously crowded the line of scrimmage, forcing Prescott to face consistent pressure in the pocket. Another result of that constant pressure came in the form of running back Ezekiel Elliot’s career-worst eight rushing yards. Aaron Donald and the Rams defensive line must put that same type of pressure on the struggling Cowboys offensive line. Shutting down Prescott and Elliot equals a win.

The outcome of the game will largely be based on the trench wars. If the Rams or the Cowboys can control the line of scrimmage their running backs will have room to operate. Todd Gurley, in particular, would benefit the most from a dominant showing from the offensive line. His dual-threat abilities in both the passing and running game provide the Rams with a major edge if there is enough time for both he and Goff to work.

I expect this game to be another high-scoring affair similar to what the Rams and 49ers had last week.  Both offenses are equipped to put up a ton of yards on offense. It will come down to who can better slow down the other team’s offense.

Prediction:

Rams 38 Cowboys 30.

Sources: ESPN.com, pro-football-reference.com, AP.com

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