Three Keys To Victory For The Los Angeles Rams Against The Dallas Cowboys

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Three Keys To Victory For The Los Angeles Rams Against The Dallas Cowboys

Football

Three Keys To Victory For The Los Angeles Rams Against The Dallas Cowboys

By

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams are faltering. At 2-2, and after another heavy defeat to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football, questions surround this team. The Rams return to SoFi Stadium and welcome the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys and its ferocious defense. It is another daunting task for the Rams, but they are good enough to defeat Dallas. Here are three things the Rams must do. 

 

Get Back To Being The Rams

Throughout Sean McVay’s tenure, the Rams have stretched the field vertically. Whether it was Jared Goff with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods or Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, the Rams have attacked downfield. This year? Not so much. 80.7% of Stafford’s passes this season have occurred within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. That is the highest rate in the NFL. The Cowboys’ defense has no real weakness, but the boom-or-bust secondary may be susceptible to chunk plays. Therefore, it is time for Allen Robinson to step up and break through. Los Angeles handed Robinson a lucrative contract in free agency, but Robinson has underwhelmed so far. The Cowboys will mimic the Rams’ previous opponents and play a lot of Cover 3 defense. After all, Dan Quinn is a graduate of the Seattle “Legion of Boom” Cover 3 academy. Los Angeles has seen Cover 3 around 40% of the time through four weeks, and teams are negating the crosser and drive concepts the Rams used in 2021. The Rams have to play with risk to beat Dallas, and they need to push the ball downfield. Teams are condensing the field and limiting Los Angeles to small gains. That needs to change. 

Find A Way To Protect Stafford And Stay Out Of Third Down 

The Cowboys are a top-two team in generating pressures. This devastating pass rush buries teams, and the Rams head into this game banged up on the offensive line. Three replacements will start for the Rams, which almost certainly means they will use Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers in pass protection, especially on third down. In Week One, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept their back to chip-block a Cowboys pass rusher. Dallas loves to play four rushers on third down and may walk linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to the line in their NASCAR package. The Cowboys also love to confuse protections, meaning Stafford must be on red alert pre-snap. Los Angeles could halt the Dallas pass rush by establishing the run, and the Rams must stay away from the shotgun-run game. If the Rams can get something going on the ground, it can keep the Dallas defense honest. That should ease the pressure on a suspect offensive line. 

 

Aaron Donald

The greatest defensive player in history? Quite possibly. Aaron Donald is a legend. An icon. And when the Rams have needed him the most, he has delivered. Donald was quiet in the game against the 49ers, and now he has another big test to take. Cowboys center Zack Martin is a future Hall of Famer, and this game-long battle could decide the game’s outcome. Veteran Jason Peters has arrived and solidified the interior as well. Football is a complicated game.

Nonetheless, it can be simplified. Sometimes, it is just a game where another man must kick another man’s behind. Donald is capable of beating Martin and Peters and wrecking this game. If Donald can do that, Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush may look much more rattled. 

 

Overall

The Rams are teetering. It is a massive game between these two NFC powerhouses. For the Rams, a win can steady the ship. Conversely, a defeat may open the door to more challenging questions for the reigning champions.

Latest

More The Wright Way Network