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The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in the di

in Quasselecke 20.02.2019 02:38
von panxing18 • 393 Beiträge

visional round of the playoffs. This will be the ninth time Dallas has played the Rams in the postseason http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/la_el-collins-jersey , which is more than any other opponent in franchise history, however it’s been 33 years since these teams last met in the playoffs. In the 1985 season, the Rams beat Dallas 20-0 in the wild card game. Running back Eric Dickerson ran for 248 yards in that contest. That game would ultimately be Tom Landry’s last playoff appearance.It’s a different time now. The Cowboys were on the decline back then, but now are a team on the rise. But so are the Rams. Lead by their offensive guru/head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are the top scoring team in the NFC, averaging just about 33 points a game. The Cowboys strength has been their defense as they’ve allowed the second-fewest points in the NFC. Each team has play-makers on both sides of the ball and this should be an exciting game to watch. Here are five things to watch when the Cowboys play the Rams on Saturday night.1. Will the real first-team All-Pro RB please stand up?This team features two of the top running backs in the game. Since entering the league in 2015, no running back has more touches, rushing yards, or total scrimmage yards than Todd Gurley. But then in 2016 Ezekiel Elliott entered the league and that changed things a bit. Since Zeke entered the league, no running back has more touches, rushing yards, or total scrimmage yards than Ezekiel Elliott.The battle of the running backs will be important. Gurley finished third in the league in rushing with 1,251 yards, despite missing two games. Only seven NFL teams held opponents to an average of less than 100 rushing yards per game this season. The New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, and Philadelphia Eagles are three of those teams. Gurley’s yards against those teams are:Saints = 68 yardsBears = 28 yardsEagles = 48 yardsThe Rams lost all three of those games. The Cowboys are also one of the seven teams that have held teams to an average of less 100 yards rushing. Last week, this group faced the top rushing team in the league this season and they held Chris Carson (who was fifth in rushing) to just 20 yards. Led by Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, this Cowboys defense has been fierce against the run.While stopping Gurley will be important for Dallas, the Rams have demonstrated the ability to survive despite not being able to stop the run. The Rams are 8-3 in games where their defense has given up 100+ rushing yards. They know they’re not great against the run and have been able to win anyways. 2. Leighton for a Gurley like youKeeping the Rams star running back in check in the rushing game is just half the battle because Gurley has become a very effective receiver out of the backfield. Over the last two seasons, he’s compiled 1,368 yards receiving through 29 games. That equates to a 47 yard per game average. That’s a nice little bonus to get from your running back.The last time he faced Dallas was in Week 4 of the previous season and he reeled off 215 total yards, 94 of which came as a receiver. Sean Lee was hurt that game and a very raw Jaylon Smith was wondering about like a baby giraffe. The Cowboys had no antidote to the fatal blow that Todd Gurley delivered that day.But things are different now. Jaylon Smith is different now. And while Sean Lee is healthy, he’s not even in the mix that much thanks to the emergence of rookie sensation Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys had their reasons why they loved Vander Esch and one of those reasons is that he can cover people. He can flat-out fly from sideline to sideline and will be tasked with stopping one of the game’s best offensive talents.3. Don’t Goff it upTo survive in the playoffs, you have to take care of the football. The Cowboys have done a pretty good job of that this season, allowing the sixth-fewest turnovers in the league this year. But the Rams are really good at causing turnovers, as they are third in the league with 30 takeaways. Aided by a strong defensive line, the Rams defense force a lot of fumbles.Prescott ability to secure the ball is important. The Cowboys young quarterback has been criticized a lot this year because of his ball security and for good reason. He’s tied for second in the league with 12 fumbles on the year. But do you know who’s he’s tied with?Jared Goff.The good news is Dak’s gotten better as the season’s progressed. That is not the case for Goff. Here are each QB’s fumbles over his last four games:Prescott = 0Goff = 5Taking care of the ball is important, but don’t be surprised if it’s Goff who’s coughing it up when DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory start knocking him around. Speaking of knocking people around...4. The game-wreckerOn paper, the Rams have an impressive looking defense, but this group hasn’t been all that great this season. They are 19th in yards allowed (358) and 20th in points allowed (24.0) this season. While they don’t have the best defense, they do have the best defensive player. The Rams gave Donald a six-year, $135 million dollar deal this offseason and the guy is worth every penny. He leads the league with 20.5 sacks, which is ridiculous considering he plays defensive tackle. Even the most ferocious edge rushers can’t keep up with this beast.Veteran BTB’ers are well aware of Donald as he was a draft crush for many of us back in 2014. Unfortunately, he was selected before the Cowboys turn to pick and they had to settle for that Zack Martin fella. I guess he’s been alright. These two All-Pro’s will have their chance to go head-to-head on Saturday, but the more concerning moments will be when Donald lines up on the other side and goes after the rookie Connor Williams. Look for Donald to exploit that matchup. How well the rookie performs and the help the Cowboys give him could be the difference-maker in this game. They absolutely cannot let 99 blow this game up in the trenches.Donald led the league with 106 quarterback pressures and Prescott’s had his share of stranger-danger moments this year, but Dak’s a slippery little sucker.5. Off to the racesInitially, the Cowboys front office got a lot of criticism for trading away a first-round draft pick to acquire the services of Amari Cooper. But good receivers don’t grow on trees. That’s why the New England Patriots were applauded when they gave up a first-round pick to get Brandin Cooks last year. And again, the Rams were also praised for giving up a first-rounder to add Cooks to their offense. Cooks has had four straight seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards, with a career high 1 Youth Sean Lee Jersey ,204 yards this year. But he’s not even the Rams’ leading receiver.People thought the Rams got ripped off when they signed Robert Woods to a five-year, $34 million deal a couple years ago, but that guy looks like a bargain now. Woods led the Rams in catches (86), yards (1,219), and touchdowns (6) this season, even surpassing the talented Cooks.The Rams are second to only Kansas City in passing plays greater than 25 yards. They have a total of 40. That would appear to spell big trouble for the Cowboys defense, except check out other teams on this list. The Cowboys have played five teams in the top 10 and they have beaten every one of them.The Cowboys have some big play-makers of their own. Cooper has come up big for Dallas this season and Tavon Austin is a big-play threat every time the ball is in his hands. He would love to have a big game against his former team. And with each new game, Michael Gallup continues to build a rapport with Prescott. He’s been known to scurry down the sideline a time or two.With field conditions in question, traction will be key and one big slip could lead to a big, game-changing play. The last time the Cowboys won a playoff game on the road, they had to play on a slop-fest field at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. It worked out okay and fans erupted when Alvin Harper took a pass 70 yards to help clinch the game.We wouldn’t mind seeing something like that happen again.What will you be watching for on Saturday? Welcome to the NFL, Baker Mayfield.And welcome back to the league, Andrew Luck.While the opening preseason game for most teams carries little intrigue as players from the back end of the roster try to strut their stuff, several story lines will be worth following Thursday night.Start in the New Jersey Meadowlands and in Seattle.Top overall draft pick Mayfield will see some action against the Giants, who have their own prized rookie in second overall selection Saquon Barkley. The Browns might not be counting on too much from Mayfield early on as veteran Tyrod Taylor is Cleveland's starter, but New York expects a huge boost for its offense from the Penn State running back.On the other coast, the Colts plan for their recently luckless quarterback to take some snaps against the Seahawks. Luck hurt the right shoulder in September 2015 against Tennessee, missed two games, then returned to make four more starts before sustaining a season-ending lacerated kidney. He played through shoulder pain in 2016, then had surgery that sidelined him for all of last season.It's been roughly 600 days between starts for the Colts star.Elsewhere on the first full night of preseason games, it's Carolina at Buffalo, Chicago at Cincinnati, New Orleans at Jacksonville, Tampa Bay at Miami, Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Washington at New England, Tennessee at Green Bay, Houston at Kansas City, and Dallas at San Francisco.What to look for Thursday night around the league:BAKER AND BARKLEYBrimming with optimism coming off a 0-16 season, Cleveland's plan is to have Mayfield sit and learn as a rookie behind Taylor, who will start at MetLife Stadium and play one or two series before giving way to Mayfield, who is expected to play two quarters."When you get the energy level up, you've got to be able to execute, so that's why I'm excited about Thursday as well," Mayfield said. "You get people hyped up, you actually get some contact in and you can focus in and do your job when there are distractions around."New Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who led the Browns in 2011-12, hasn't indicated how much Barkley will play."I am hoping I am good to go for that game Color Rush Byron Jones Jersey ," Barkley said. "I am more than capable to playing now. I am just happy inside to play in my first NFL game. Hopefully I can maximize every rep."LUCKY COLTSLuck is expected to play most of the first quarter, likely one or two series playing in a revamped offense with an overhauled offensive line."I'll be excited and a little nervous," Luck said. "There were one or two moments where I wondered if, 'Am I ever going to be able to do this again?'"Seattle is also revamped. The names Sherman, Avril, Bennett and Chancellor that used to don the backs of jerseys are no longer around. It'll be the first look at an overhauled defense where the big questions center on the secondary — star safety Earl Thomas is holding out — and what kind of pass rush can be generated.VRABEL'S DEBUTMike Vrabel says he really hasn't spent much time thinking of any pregame speech in his debut as Titans coach."Never really got a great motivational speech as a professional athlete," Vrabel said. "Just had a job to do, was prepared, knew the game plan and went out and played."Another man with Patriots ties, cornerback Malcolm Butler, plays his first game for Tennessee. He most memorably was benched on defense for the Super Bowl in February even as New England's secondary was torn apart by Philadelphia.A season-ending knee injury to Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan left a hole in the run defense. Third-round pick Oren Burks will get the first chance at replacing Ryan in the base defense.FLORIDA MATCHUPMiami's eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill, who like Luck sat out last season when injured. He'll make a brief appearance against Tampa Bay, which won't have top draftee DT Vita Vea (calf injury).PENNSYLVANIA MATCHUPTwo teams with Super Bowl possibilities, though the regulars barely will get on the field.Pittsburgh, of course, is without outstanding running back Le'Veon Bell, who is holding out. All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown and QB Ben Roethlisberger will sit.With Carson Wentz still not cleared for contact and Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, sidelined by muscle spasms in his shoulder and neck, third-year pro QB Nate Sudfeld starts.CALIFORNIA MATCHUPNo, the Cowboys don't call California home. They do spend a few weeks there in the summer, and now they'll visit the 49ers.Dallas is searching for leadership with tight end Jason Witten gone to ESPN and WR Dez Bryant cut.San Francisco's Jimmy Garoppolo, 7-0 as a starter in his four-year career, will be taking his first snaps in a game since signing a five-year, $137.5 million contract. He's looked good during training camp.POUNDING THE ROCKNew Orleans and Jacksonville expect to get a brief look at their revamped ground games.Saints running back Terrance West is trying to prove he's the guy to fill in for Pro Bowl starter Mark Ingram, who will serve a four-game suspension to start the regular season.Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette dropped more than 15 pounds since the start of last season and will have a retooled line with All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell."I feel healthier," said Fournette, down to 223 pounds thanks partly to 50 push-ups a night. "I want to be great. That is my weight I felt best in college."SECOND OUTINGChicago already has played, using backups and losing the Hall of Fame game to Baltimore. This visit to Cincinnati, though, is the first chance to see Mitchell Trubisky operate the new offense of coach Matt Nagy in game conditions. The Trubisky to Allen Robinson connection started to show up more in practice this week.Cincinnati overhauled its porous line, bringing in veteran tackles Cordy Glenn and Bobby Hart and drafting center Billy Price in the first round.WATCH WHAT YOU SAYBills starting receiver Kelvin Benjamin will face his former team for the first time since asking the Panthers to trade him in October. Benjamin was reprimanded by coach Sean McDermott on Sunday for questioning why Carolina drafted him and criticizing Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's accuracy.Newton will play about 10 snaps in his first action under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.MAHOMES' TURNWhen Kansas City traded starting QB Alex Smith to Washington, the job was handed to 2017 first-rounder Patrick Mahomes. He'll get his first turn as the Chiefs' No. 1 quarterback against Houston."We are going to try to win. That is the first thing coach (Andy) Reid said when we were game planning for this week is he doesn't like losing," Mahomes said. "We're going to do whatever it takes."PRACTICE, THEN PLAYJoe Flacco makes his preseason debut for Baltimore after watching three other quarterbacks run the offense against Chicago. Flacco will likely be paired with a new flock of receivers that includes John Brown, Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree and first-round draft pick Hayden Hurst. The Rams will be playing their first preseason game following a pair of joint practices with the Ravens earlier this week.WHO GETS THE BALL?The Redskins' running back competition will be front and center at the Patriots. Second-round pick Derrius Guice will get an opportunity to show he can be No. 1, with third-down back Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley seeing action. The likes of Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs figure to compete for a roster spot.New England WR Julian Edelman made several rounds of apologies when his four-game suspension was handed down by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancers. He plans to use what's left of training camp to make sure his surgically repaired knee will be ready when he returns. Edelman missed the entire 2017 season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. Custom Washington Redskins Jerseys

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