The LA Rams kickoff their 2020 campaign at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. This is an extremely important game for the Rams as they expect to compete with the Cowboys for a NFC playoff berth.
Unlike most seasons where we have OTAs, full training camps and preseason games, 2020 is marked with question marks and uncertainty across the board. Rookies don’t have as much time to acclimate and new coaches have an uphill battle implementing their schemes in an abbreviated preseason.
Speaking of which, the Cowboys onboard three coaches: Head Coach, Mike McCarthy, Defensive Coordinator, Mike Nolan and Special Teams coach, John Fassel. The Rams onboard Defensive Coordinator, Brandon Staley and Special Teams coach John Bonamego. Whichever coaching staff was more successful at implementing their systems might determine the outcome of this game.
Both teams are evenly matched and will focus on their strengths. For the Rams, that means lining Aaron Donald across from Connor Williams and Joe Looney. Both offensive linemen are good – not great and would be a focal point of attack for the All Pro defensive lineman. Speaking of offensive linemen, star right tackle, La’el Collins will miss the game due to injury meaning newly acquired tackle Cam Erving will get the start.
The Cowboys will run their offense through Zeke Elliott, who along with Tony Pollard amassed 263 rushing yards in last years matchup. The Rams have big question marks at linebacker so perhaps using a defensive back like Terrell Burgess might help slow down or at least stop the bleeding if Elliott and Pollard go off.
Offensively, the Rams will look to have more balance than they did in their last meeting. The running game faltered with only 22 rushing yards. Look for the three-headed monster of Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson and Malcom Brown to combine for 100 yards. This will be paramount in keeping the Cowboys defense on their toes.
While the ground game is critical, the Rams and Jared Goff should look to exploit the Cowboys suspect secondary. Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson are the superior unit when matched up against cornerbacks, Travon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Chidobe Owuzie. Passing should be the easier route, but let’s hope McVay sticks with the running game so Goff and the WRs can get an even bigger advantage.
Last but not least, it will be our first glance at kickers Samuel Sloman and ex-Ram Greg Zeurlein. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game came down to a field goal.
Check out game previews of all 16 week one matchups on Fan to Fan Network.