This will be the only Cowboys home game in a 41-day span, but Jerry Jones World has been kind to them, and the visit of the Rams sees Dallas defending a 10-game winning streak at home, their longest since 1991-92.
The Rams are 2-1 on the road this season with their only loss being a 3-point affair at Cincinnati.
Dallas come into this game off their bye week so will have had plenty of time to plan for the Rams who they beat 22-10 last season, getting after Rams QB Matthew Stafford and sacking him five times. The Cowboys are 7-3 coming off a bye week over the past 10 seasons, which is tied for fifth-best record in that span.
The Rams have performed a little better than expected this season and although they are at 3-4 their offence does have some dangerous elements to it especially through the air and the Cowboys should be aware of this. Having said that despite both head coaches having offensive mindsets none of their games have been particularly high scoring this season and the best player on each team is probably on the defensive side of the ball, Micah Parsons for the Cowboys, and Aaron Donald for the Rams. In fact, Dallas has yet to play a game this season where both teams scored more than 17 points, that could change here though. Priced at 8-1 in the starsports.bet specials market to be the Highest Scoring Sunday Game I can see this one giving you a run for your money but a sporting suggestion in that market would be the Carolina/Houston match up which has the potential to become a game with some real back at forth and is generously priced at 12-1.
The big question in the game is can the Rams with their porous offensive line protect QB Matthew Stafford. This game features one of the biggest defensive line versus offensive line mismatches of the week. The Cowboys DL ranks first in pass-rush win rate, 10th in QB knockdown percentage, and ninth in sacks per pass attempt. The Rams OL ranks 27th in pass-block win rate, 18th in QB hits given up, and 17th in sacks per pass attempt given up. As previously mentioned Stafford took five sacks in this game last year and it’s not hard to that the same situation may result given how the defensive lines and offensives lines match up.
After throwing for 307.3 yards per game in Weeks 1-4, Stafford has thrown for 222, 226, and 231 yards in the past three weeks. He is coming off completing a season-low 48.3% of his passes last week against the Steelers. Pressure has without doubt been Stafford’s biggest foe this season, when pressured he has completed just 39.2% of his passes (29th in the league).
Stafford will therefore need to use the run game to take the pressure off, but the Rams run game has been in a state of flux and they had to virtually bring Darrell Henderson in off the street last week. To be fair Henderson did handle 19 touches for 66 yards and a TD but faces a tougher assignment this week but looks to continue in his lead back role over Royce Freeman. It should be noted that Henderson is a better pass blocker and if the Rams are to get anything out of this game they will need to keep Stafford upright and get the ball to their dangerous wide receivers.
Stafford is tied for third in total pass attempts through the first seven weeks of the 2023 season (256, or 36.6 per game) and I suspect that most of those throws will be heading in the direction of main receiving duo Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. The Rams are only 16th in scoring at 22.1 points per game as they are trying to figure out how to make use of their new receiver duo. It was Nacua who burst onto the scene in the early weeks of the season whilst Kupp was out injured and since Kupp has returned Nacua was a little quiet until he exploded on the Steelers defence last week to the tune of 154 yards. Kupp had a much quieter game and despite Nacua’s effectiveness the Rams still only scored 17 points against a poor Pittsburgh pass defence. Nacua had struggled against man coverage prior to the Steelers game but he appeared much more comfortable last week against that coverage. The Cowboys defence runs man coverage at the third-highest rate in the league this season (33.7 percent). Since Kupp has returned to the lineup, he and Nacua have now combined for 67.7%, 76.2%, and 70.3% of the team targets. This offence should primarily run through Kupp and Nacua until further notice and Nacua in particular has a good chance of exceeding his receiving yards line +76.6 (10-11) with starsports.bet.
The mantra of Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy this season has been to run the ball, control the game and take the pressure off the defence. Place that in context and it makes sense that the production of Dallas QB Dak Prescott is down this year in his own run game and with the Cowboys disappointing pass attack. Prescott has thrown for multiple touchdowns just once this season and has six passing touchdowns versus four interceptions through the first six games, hardly stellar numbers, and it’s not as though he without offensive talent surrounding him.
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With Zeke Elliott departing for the Patriots Tony Pollard has very much had the Cowboys backfield to himself this season. Pollard has struggled for efficiency though and that may well be down to the way that he’s been used this year having to run the tougher yards between the tackles rather than being asked to run off tackle and being manufactured touches in space on the edges of the defence. This matchup for Pollard isn’t a tough one and he’s likely to get plenty of touches but the worrying fact is that he has now rushed for more yards than expected on just 29.3% of his runs this season. On the upside the Rams have struggled in the red zone, allowing a touchdown on 54.55 percent of opponent red zone trips, and having allowed nine rushing touchdowns through seven games, tied for fourth most in the league. Pollard can be backed at 4-6 to score a TD and is 9-4 to be the first Dallas TD scorer with starsports.bet.
If Dallas do get more aggressive on offence then surely their underused alpha wide receiver CeeDee Lamb will be seeing more of the ball, Lamb’s box score this season has been underwhelming to say the least scoring just once, but he did come to life in Week 6 against the Chargers catching all seven of his targets for 117 yards. Leading wide receivers like A.J. Brown, Ja’Marr Chase and George Pickens have all had success against this Rams secondary and this could be another game where Lamb starts to improve his seasonal statistics. Michael Gallup and Bardin Cooks provide good support in the receiving department for Lamb.
Given the talent on these offences, it feels like both should produce better results than they have so far this season. This has the potential to be an exciting game that is within 1 score in the 4th quarter, and it won’t be a surprise to see the total points line set at +45.5 (10-11) exceeded especially if the Rams are pushed into keeping up with the Cowboys via scoreboard pressure. Talking of scoring and it has been down in the NFL of late, looking at all the games on the 5pm slate the starsports.bet special of all teams to score 10+ points looks an attractive play.
BACK CeeDee Lamb over +68.5 receiving yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐
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BACK Puka Nacua over +76.5 receiving yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (OCT 2023): LOSS -20.85 points