The Los Angeles Rams will be looking to get a winning streak going on the road against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season.
This rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Round is a must-win for both teams looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. Like the Rams, the Cowboys have fallen vastly short of expectations this year and are now looking to make up for their slow start to the regular season.
Los Angeles has done a solid job of picking up the slack with dominant back-to-back outings in recent weeks against NFC West rivals. Regardless, they still must win out and hope for some help from Minnesota Vikings’ opponents in order to have a chance of securing a Wild Card spot.
Meanwhile, Dallas is desperate to get back into the win column in the midst of a three-game losing streak that has left them tied with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East at 6-7. Despite their struggles, they are still in control of their playoff destiny thanks to the abysmal state of the division.
Rams Offense vs. Cowboys Defense
The Rams have managed to spark a bit of a resurgence thanks to their depth on both sides of the ball. One of the more promising signs has been the job right tackle Bobby Evans has done since taking over for Rob Havenstein and he may need to do it once again with the latter listed as doubtful due to a knee injury.
The Cowboys were dealing with a laundry list of injuries into Week 15 and it seems the defense is going to be the group that is most affected. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will be sidelined with a neck injury while linebacker Sean Lee and defensive end Michael Bennett are both listed as questionable.
If Lee and Bennett are forced to sit out, this would undoubtedly deal a few more crushing blows to this group.
Rams Defense vs Cowboys Offense
Los Angeles has endured their fair share of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, however, they have managed to make the necessary adjustments thanks to the emergence of their backups and some of the younger players on the roster. It has certainly paid off now that this group is sporting a clean bill of health for the two-game road trip.
Unlike their defense, Dallas’ offense has been able to avoid any significant injuries as of late and are hoping to finally find their rhythm in this pivotal matchup.
Three Keys To Victory
1. Keep Feeding Gurley
Head coach Sean McVay made good on his commitment to getting running back Todd Gurley more involved and it has paid huge dividends for the offense. The blueprint for success has become clear as the Rams are now 4-0 when Gurley has more than 100 scrimmage yards.
Three of those games have happened over the last four weeks during their resurgence and they will need to follow this same recipe if they hope to extend their winning streak.
2. Force Cowboys To Become One-Dimensional
Although the Cowboys certainly have no shortage of firepower on offense, their recent losing streak shows that they are still struggling to stay on the same page. One thing all three of their losses had in common was that opposing defenses were able to force them to shy away from the running game by putting the pressure on quarterback Dak Prescott to make plays through the air on a consistent basis.
If Los Angeles is able to establish an early lead, this could spur Dallas to try and pick up the tempo with Prescott’s arm up to the point where that it the only option that they are left with.
3. Contain Elliott
Even if the Cowboys opt to take a pass-heavy approach, they still have no problems getting running back Ezekiel Elliott touches thanks to his prowess as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. The onus will fall on the defense to decide which checkdowns they are going to allow that will not provide him with too much space to work with.
Of course, this will be much easier said than done since Elliott is more than capable of shedding off multiple would-be tacklers. It will take a group effort to keep him in check throughout the course of this game.