First Look: Rams to face Cowboys’ Dak, Zeke, and strong run defense in Divisional Round

The Cowboys made it out of the accurately-named Wild Card round, and will face a second-straight NFC West opponent after downing the Seahawks in Dallas. Third-year offensive stars, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott along with the physical Cowboys defense will enter the L.A. Memorial Coliseum looking for revenge.

The Rams beat the Cowboys last season in Dallas behind two touchdowns from quarterback Jared Goff and 215 yards from scrimmage from running back Todd Gurley. If the Rams are able to top Dallas for a second-straight season, the club will be one win away from its first Super Bowl appearance since 2001.

Here’s an early look at the Dallas Cowboys (11-6):

Offense

  • Points Per Game: 22nd (21.2)
  • Yards Per Game: 22nd (343.8)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 10th (122.7)

Key Contributors

  • WR Amari Cooper: 9 G, 53 Rec, 725 Yds, 6 TDs
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott: 15 G, 304 Att, 1,434 Yds, 6 TDs
  • TE Blake Jarwin: 16 G, 27 Rec, 304 Yds, 3 TDs

The bulk of the Cowboys offense has come through Prescott and Elliott in 2018. In addition to his 22 touchdown passes to eight different receivers, Prescott matches Elliott’s six touchdowns rushing, and is No. 2 on the team in rushing yards. Capturing the NFL’s 2018 rushing title for the second time in three years, Elliot has also taken on the role of a pass catcher in his third season with Prescott, reeling in three touchdown passes en route to his second-career postseason appearance. Elliot joins six other Cowboys with multiple touchdown reception in 2018, including wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Six of Cooper’s seven touchdown receptions this season have come since joining the Cowboys in Week 9. The veteran receiver averaged 13.68 yards per reception in nine games alongside Prescott and Elliott. Additionally, the Cowboys are 8-2 since Cooper joined the league’s No. 10 rushing team in terms of yards per game.

Defense

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 6th (20.3)
  • Yards Allowed Per Game: 7th (329.3)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 6th (94.6)

Key Contributors

  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence: 16 G, 10.5 Sk, 64 Tkl, 15 TFL, 23 QBH, 2 FF, 1 INT
  • LB Leighton Vander Esch: 16 G, 2 INT, 140 Tkl, 7 PDs, 2 QBH, 1 TFL
  • LB Jaylon Smith: 16 G, 122 Tkl, 2 FF, 2FR, 4.0 Sk, 1 TD, 4 PDs, 6 QBH, 6 TFL

The Cowboys offer one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2018, ranked No. 6 in both points allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game. The defense features a pair of busy young linebackers in Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, who combine for a whopping 262 tackles in 2018. The Cowboys’ 20 takeaways rank No. 16 across the league, with Vander Esch and Smith combining for four of them.

The Cowboys defense has limited opposing offenses to 80 rushing yards or fewer in nine games this season. That’s including last week’s Wild Card game, when the Cowboys held the league’s top rushing team to just 73 yards on the ground.

Quarterback

  • QB Dak Prescott: 16 G, 3,885 Yds, 22 TDs, 67.7 % Cmp, 8 Int

Third-year Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 3,885 yards, playing in all 16 games in 2018. Prescott threw 22 touchdowns and rushed for six, leading his Cowboys to the playoffs for the second time in three years. Prescott has been consistent in his three professional seasons, firing 23 touchdowns in his rookie season, 22 in 2017, and 22 once again in 2018. The Mississippi State product has had a tough time staying upright this season. Prescott’s 56 sacks taken rank No. 2 among all quarterbacks in 2018.

Prescott earned his first career playoff victory in the Wild Card round against the Seahawks. The young quarterback completed 66.7 percent of his passes totalling 226 yards, with one touchdown passing, one touchdown rushing, and one interception in the win. Prescott is 0-1 in his career against the Rams.

Last Week

  • W 24-22 vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Cowboys edged out the Seahawks in a low-scoring, Wild Card affair in Dallas. The Cowboys got in the box first, with an 11-yard touchdown connection from Prescott to wide receiver Michael Gallup just before the end of the field goal-filled first half.

Each offense took care of the football for the majority of the first-round game, until Prescott threw his second-career playoff interception in the fourth quarter. The Dallas defense held firm, Prescott made a few gutsy dashes for the end zone and his unit weathered a fourth-quarter push from the Seahawks. The Seattle return team was unable to get on the other end of punter Michael Dickson’s onside drop kick and the Cowboys had a playoff victory for the first time since 2014.

Check out photos from walk-thru as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys in Divisional Round.

Head Coach

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is 77-59 since taking over in Dallas Week 10 of the 2009 season. The Cowboys have made the playoffs three times under Garrett, the first time being back in 2014, when the Cowboys beat the Lions in the Wild Card round before being eliminated by the Packers in the Divisional round.

Garrett was a quarterbacks coach in Miami for two seasons before joining the Cowboys staff in 2007 as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Garrett is 3-1 leading the Cowboys against the Rams. The Cowboys lost to the Los Angeles in Week 4 of last season.

Related Content

Advertising