Now that the Rams' 2020 schedule is officially out, it's time to resume our offseason opponent breakdowns on theRams.com. Up first is Los Angeles' Week 1 home opener, the Dallas Cowboys.
With the return of starting center Travis Frederick – who missed the entire 2018 season due to an autoimmune disorder – the Cowboys produced the No. 1 total offense in the NFL at 431.5 yards per game.
That production initially translated to a 3-0 start to the season. However, three-game losing streaks across Weeks 4-6 and Weeks 12-14 derailed the early success and made Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles and Week 17 against the Washington Redskins must-win games to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Though the Cowboys defeated the Redskins, their loss to the Eagles combined with Philadelphia's Week 17 win over the New York Giants prevented them from reaching the postseason.
Dallas let leading pass rusher Robert Quinn (11.5) walk as an unrestricted free agent and signed former Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro defensive end Aldon Smith, who last played in the NFL in 2015. Starting safety Jeff Heath also left as an unrestricted free agent and was replaced by former Packers safety Haha Clinton-Dix, who signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys.
On offense, Frederick retired and veteran tight end Jason Witten departed after his one-year deal out of retirement expired. The Cowboys also signed former Chiefs offensive tackle Cameron Erving and former Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton to one-year contracts.
Mike McCarthy is in his first season as head coach of the Cowboys, replacing Jason Garrett. McCarthy spent the 2019 season out of the NFL after a 13-year run as head coach of the Packers, where he compiled a 125-77-2 record from 2006-18.
What to watch for
Rams secondary vs. Cowboys wide receivers
The Cowboys return their top two receivers from 2019 in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and used their first-round pick on former Oklahoma standout CeeDee Lamb, widely regarded as one of the top five wide receivers in this year's draft. Meanwhile, the Rams bring back Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill – who held Cooper and Gallup to one catch each last December – and will have a healthy John Johnson III available.
It is perhaps the most exciting matchup for this game, followed closely by the Rams' defensive line vs. the Cowboys' offensive line.