NFC Divisional Playoffs – Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys will look to pull off the big upset when they visit Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday in what looks like an intriguing NFC Divisional showdown just waiting to happen. After holding off red-hot Seattle in their NFC Wild Card clash, let’s find out if the Cowboys are up for the challenge of dispatching the 13-win NFC West division champs.
The Boys won two their final two regular season games – and a blistering seven of eight to close out the regular season. More impressively however was Dallas’ 24-22 win over Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks last weekend.
Dak Prescott was masterful in passing for 226 yards with one touchdown and one pick while sealing the deal with a 1-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining. Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards and one score in the win and Dallas held off a late comeback attempt to get the win. Now, the Boys are up for what looks like an even bigger challenge, but they’re focusing on themselves and not the Rams.
“I think it doesn’t matter who you line up across from us,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said following Saturday’s win over Seattle. “You watched that game today. We’re a great team. Tough defense. We ran, we hit. I don’t think teams want to see us.”
Dallas averages a modest 21.2 points per game (22nd) but limits the opposition to just 20.2 points per contest defensively to rank sixth in points allowed. The bad news is that Dallas is just 3-5 in eight road games this season.
• Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
• Cowboys are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. NFC.
• Cowboys are 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games on grass.
• Cowboys are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
• Cowboys are 6-13 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
• Cowboys are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 playoff road games.
• Cowboys are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.
• Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Divisional Playoffs games.
• Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in January.
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles suffered a pair of crushing losses to Chicago and Philadelphia in Weeks 14 and 15, but the Rams managed to win their final two regular season contests including a 48-32 win over San Francisco in their finale. More importantly, the Rams have gone a near-perfect 7-1 SU at home this season. Now, well-rested L.A. is looking to extend its postseason run to reach the NFC Championship and they know it all begins by stopping Prescott and Elliott on offense.
“You’re talking about two elite competitors that are at their best in those crunch-time moments,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “Their production speaks for itself and you could see their teammates believe in them.”
The Rams rank a stellar second in scoring (32.9 ppg) while also ranking a modest 20th in points allowed (24.0 ppg). L.A. has gone 6-6 ATS this season as a favorite of 7 points or more.
• Rams are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
• Rams are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
• Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff home games.
• Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 playoff games.
• Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in January.
• Rams are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.
• Rams are 0-4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Expert Pick and Prediction
I know the Los Angeles Rams have one of the best offenses in all of the football and that they’ll be playing this NFC divisional showdown at home, but after seeing the high level of defense that Dallas has been playing, not just last week, but really, all season long, something tells me this contest is going to end up a lot closer to a field goal finish than the touchdown spread it currently is.
Dallas is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against their NFC counterparts, a scorching 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games on grass and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following an SU win. Conversely, the Rams are an uninspiring 1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games and winless 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record.
I like Los Angeles to get the win at home to advance to the NFC championship, but I just don’t see the Rams winning this matchup by the eight points it would take for them to cover the chalk. Back the Boys to cover but the Rams to win outright.
Predicted Score: Dallas Cowboys 21 | Los Angeles Rams 27
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