By Alex Al-Kazzaz
The Dallas Cowboys had their bye week at a pretty reasonable time. Dak Prescott & Company bounced back from their embarrassing loss to the 49ers with a hard-fought, resilient win over Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers last Monday. Dallas takes on the LA Rams in Arlington on Sunday, and they enter this game with a 4-2 record.
Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams are 3-4 and are coming off a frustrating loss at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Earlier today, the Rams released veteran kicker Brett Maher after he missed two field goals and an extra-point kick in the 24-17 loss to the Steelers. Crucial mistakes and inconsistency marred Los Angeles' loss to Pittsburgh. Stafford's pass intercepted by T.J. Watt on the first play of the second half resulted in Pittsburgh scoring and taking the lead. The Rams would bounce back but ultimately fall as the Rams' offense sputtered while the Steelers' offense capitalized.
Dallas is determined to improve to 5-2. Despite plenty of football left, the NFC East clearly belongs to the Eagles, but Dallas cannot allow themselves to fall too deep as it would result in playoff elimination. Dallas takes on Philadelphia on the road next week, so a win at home against the Rams is crucial.
Dallas needs to outplay the Rams on both sides of the ball. If the defense can keep the Rams' offense intact by forcing punts, sacking the quarterback, forcing turnovers, and avoiding penalties, the Rams' chances of winning can remain minimal at best. Dallas could not get to Herbert until the very end when they denied Herbert a game-winning drive. They can't wait until the end to get to the quarterback this time. They'll have their hands full dealing with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, and the Rams will look to take advantage.
Prescott and the offense need to be productive. If the defense can excel, the offense needs to excel, too. Scoring points is critical for Dallas, as in touchdowns. The offense must be consistent, meaning the running and passing games must be effective. And penalties must be avoided at all costs. The Rams are 13th in the league in yards allowed per game.
Los Angeles may be 3-4, but they can give Dallas more than a run for their money. LA's most significant loss was only by a nine-point deficit. Coming off a bye week, Dallas is well-rested and should win this one, but it won't be easy. For Dallas, there's no such thing as an easy win.