THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. –Though the Cowboys enter this week's game with a 6-7 record, it does not reflect who they are, according to Rams head coach Sean McVay.
"I think in a lot of instances, I keep saying it, but the record is not indicative of what type of football team this is," McVay said. "They've played some really good teams, they've been in every game, they're playing really explosive on offense."
A look back on Dallas' season reinforces McVay's claim, though he could also be talking about his own team, too.
Of those seven losses, five have been by seven or fewer points, including:
- A 13-9 Week 12 loss to the now 10-3 Patriots in Foxborough. The Patriots are currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture.
- A 28-24 Week 10 home loss to the now 9-4 Vikings in Week 10. Minnesota is currently in possession of the second and final wild card spot in the NFC playoff picture.
- A 12-10 Week 4 loss to the now 10-3 Saints in New Orleans. The Saints currently hold the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
The two exceptions: A 26-15 Week 13 home loss to the now 9-4 Bills on Thanksgiving and a 34-24 Week 5 home loss to the now 10-3 Packers. Buffalo holds the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff picture, while Green Bay holds the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
In their six wins, the Cowboys averaged 34.3 points and 464 total yards of offense per game. Despite their shortcomings, they are still in first place in the NFC East – or they'll at least share it if the Eagles defeat the Giants on Monday Night Football – and still have a shot at making the playoffs.
The Rams, meanwhile are coming off a Sunday Night Football win over the Seahawks which kept them within one game of the Vikings for the final NFC wild card spot. They also notched a win over the Saints earlier in the season and kept their first meeting with the 49ers competitive – a 7-7 tie at halftime – before a 13-point second half propelled the Niners to the win.
Most notably, after a 45-6 loss to the Ravens on Monday Night Football, the Rams have scored 34 and 28 points in each of their last two games and managed to get out to early leads.
"When you are able to operate with a lead, now you force them – based on the nature of the game – to be a little bit more one dimensional," McVay said. "I think we've seen that kind of show up in the last couple weeks against two teams that have been playing really well."
What does all this mean, exactly? Neither team should be taken lightly, especially on Sunday and with so much at stake.
"When kickoff comes in Dallas, it's got to be that same urgency and edge that we've had the last couple of weeks," McVay said.