Two elite running backs face off when Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys head to Hollywood to visit Todd Gurley and the high-flying Los Angeles Rams.
The Cowboys won their Wild Card matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, in a game that featured a wicked bad beat for bettors. This week, the Cowboys are on the road and headed to Hollywood, where they will be a touchdown underdog against the Rams.
#4 Dallas Cowboys (11-6) at #2 Los Angeles Rams (13-3)
Kickoff: 5:15 PT
Location: LA Coliseum, Los Angeles
Point Spread: LA Rams -7
The Cowboys are 3-5 on the road this season, while the Rams are 7-1 at home. The Cowboys won eight out their last nine games, with their only loss a 23-0 shutout against the Indianapolis Colts.
Rams on a Mission
The Rams got off to a hot start at 8-0. They lost their first game of the season in Week 9 during a 45-35 shootout in the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints. They went 5-2 since then including losses against the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears beat the Rams 15-6 during a freezing night in Chicago. The next week, the Eagles visited the Rams and upset them on their home turf.
After consecutive losses, the Rams got back on track with two wins against the bottom feeders of the NFC West. The Rams finished the season with 13 wins, but could only secure the #2 seed.
The Rams took a huge hit when they lost WR Cooper Kupp (6 touchdowns and 40 receptions) for the season after he blew out his knee. The Rams are only 4-2 since Jared Goff lost his favorite target with Kupp.
RB Battle Royale
Zeke Elliot led the NFL in rushing this season with 1,434 yards. Elliot stepped up for the Cowboys in the Wild Card game and rumbled for a touchdown and ran up 137 yards against a tough Seahawks defense.
The Cowboys will take advantage of the Rams inability to stop the run. The Rams have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL and allow 5.1 yards per carry, which bodes well for Elliot, who averages 4.7 yards per carry.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Zeke Elliot: 1,434 yards, 9 TDs, 567 receiving yards
Todd Gurley: 1,251 yards, 21 TDs, 580 receiving yards
Todd Gurley was arguably a much bigger impact player with 1,251 yards and a league-best 21 touchdowns in only 14 games. Gurley sat out the final two games of the season to rest his knee.
Who Has a Better Defense?
The Cowboys have the sixth best defense in the NFL, allowing only 20.3 points per game. The Cowboys have the fifth-best run defense in the NFL, allowing only 94.6 yards per game. They will be tasked with trying to stop Todd Gurley.
The Rams are one of those teams like the Chiefs that rely on their stellar offense to win them games. The high scoring affairs make up for their lack of defense. The Rams are ranked #20 overall with 24 points allowed per game. In terms of DVOA, the Rams are ranked #15 overall, which puts them in the middle of the pack. They’re also ranked #8 in pass defense DVOA, but their run defense is their big problem.
The Rams have huge holes up the middle and can’t seem to plug the run. If they can slow down Elliot, then the Cowboys will struggle to keep up with the Rams high-octane offense. The Rams score 32.9 points per game, which is second best in the NFL.
Aqib Talib will be tasked with shutting down WR Amari Cooper, who emerged as Dak Prescott’s favorite target since he arrived mid-season in a trade with the Oakland Raiders.
Against the Spread
Overall, the Cowboys are 9-8 ATS and the Rams are 7-8-1 ATS
The Cowboys are 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 playoff games. Meanwhile, the Rams are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
The over is 4-0 in the last four home games for the Rams.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Rams are 9-2 odds to win the Super Bowl. The Cowboys are 10-1 odds to win the title.