The Cowboys travel to the coast on a roll after tallying a 25-10 victory over Washington that marks their third straight victory since losing starting quarterback Dak Prescott to injury. The Rams return home on the rebound after being outclassed in a 24-9 road loss to the archrival San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football that robbed them of sole possession of first place in the NFC West standings.
Cowboys vs Rams Opening Odds
The Rams have dramatically faded since opening as lofty 7-point favorites, tumbling to their current position as 4.5-point chalk. The total has also moved downward, dipping to 43 since opening at 46.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup marks the first meeting between these NFC rivals since the Cowboys visited Los Angeles two years ago. The Rams have held the edge in recent clashes, winning and covering in three of their past four overall, and in their past two home dates with Dallas, capped by a narrow 20-17 season-opening win in 2020.
In addition to marking the third time in four head-to-head meetings that the underdog has earned the outright win, that low-scoring 2020 affair put the brakes on a steady 4-0 run for the OVER, during which the total topped 60 three times.
Cowboys Thriving with Cooper Rush at Helm
No Dak? No problem. At least that’s been the case so far for the Cowboys in the early going of the NFL season. With backup Cooper Rush rising to the occasion under center in relief of Prescott, and the Cowboys defense standing tall, Dallas has racked up three straight victories, including two as betting underdogs.
While he completed just 15 of 27 pass attempts in last week’s win over the Commanders, Rush got the job done when it counted. The fifth-year pivot responded to each of Washington’s scores by immediately leading the Cowboys on 75-yard drives that ended with touchdown catches by Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
Equally important has been the impressive play of the stingy Cowboys defense. The pass defense limited Washington pivot Carson Wentz to just 170 passing yards and one score against two picks. Overall, the Cowboys defense was particularly effective after recess, keeping the Commanders largely hemmed in their own territory, and snuffing out any chance of a late rally by forcing Washington to turn over the ball on three of their final four possessions.
Matthew Stafford Struggling Behind Injury-Plagued Offensive Line
The Rams’ historical struggles against San Francisco continued in Monday night’s disappointing loss to the Niners. Los Angeles started out strong, opening the contest with a 54-yard drive that resulted in a field goal. However, the Rams offense struggled to seize opportunities the rest of the way, failing to score a touchdown in a contest for the first time in almost two years.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford spent most of the night under siege, connecting on 32 of 48 pass attempts for 254 yards, while tossing his sixth interception of the campaign. Stafford received little support from an offensive line that spent most of the night in disarray, allowing their star QB to be sacked on seven occasions for the second time this season.
The offensive line’s struggles were further complicated by an injury to center Coleman Shelton. Filling in for injured starter Brian Allen, Shelton left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury, forcing the Rams to turn to third-stringer Jeremiah Kolone the rest of the way. That is particularly bad news for Stafford, who has now been sacked 16 times, second most in the NFL this season, and has been forced to play behind an offensive line that has seen personnel changes in each of the team’s first four outings.
Cowboys: Keys to Win
With the Rams’ offensive line reeling from injuries, the Cowboys will enjoy a golden opportunity to duplicate last weekend’s ferocious defensive performance against yet another veteran passer with limited mobility. That should leave Cooper Rush poised to lead another grinding effort on offense and wear down a Rams defense that struggled to stop the 49ers from moving the ball at will on Monday night.
Rams: Keys to Win
After scoring just one touchdown over the past seven quarters, the Rams must find a way to provide Matthew Stafford with far more time and space to generate offensive momentum. Considering Stafford’s struggles to make things happen in the air, a greater emphasis on the ground game could pay dividends against the Cowboys’ 27th-ranked rush defense. However, the backfield duo of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. needs to be far better after tallying just 40 combined rushing yards on Monday night.