Rams vs. Cowboys Pick 12/15/19
Los Angeles Rams (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: Sunday December 15th, 2019. 4:25PM (EST)
Where: AT&T Stadium Arlington, T.X.
Point Spread: LAR +3/DAL -3 (5Dimes - Bettors lay only -105 on sides/totals here!)
Over/Under Total: 47
The Dallas Cowboys posted yet another dud in last week’s 31-24 loss to the Chicago Bears. Following the disaster on Thanksgiving Day that exploited glaring coaching limitations in an embarrassing loss to Buffalo, the Cowboys provided an encore performance last Thursday in front of another nationally televised audience. For the 2nd week in a row, the Cowboys offense marched down the field behind the legs of Ezekiel Elliott to score an opening drive touchdown. However, just like the loss to Buffalo, the Cowboys offense failed to get anything going after that opening drive when coaching adjustments seem to take place. The Cowboys offense went scoreless until the game was out of hand in the 4th quarter in what turned out to be their 3rd straight embarrassing loss.
From a betting standpoint, my prediction for last week’s Cowboys game was spot on. I confidently picked the “over 43”, which was eclipsed early in the 4th quarter en route to a 55 point performance from both sides. I expected that the Bears would use Mitchell Trubisky’s running ability after seeing Josh Allen shred the Cowboys defense, and I also expected the Cowboys’ zone defense to wither as the game progressed. In retrospect, it was an easy prediction because this Dallas coaching staff continues to do the same thing every week. For some reason, the Cowboys are listed as 3 point favorites when they return home this week to host the Los Angeles Rams in another “expected” bounce back situation. However, rest assured the Rams defense is poised to prevent any relief in Big D.
Rams defense thriving ahead of week 15 match-up against Dallas
The Los Angeles defense has been flying under the radar in recent weeks but perhaps finally got some credit after they stymied Russell Wilson and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football in a 28-12 victory. The Rams defense was dominant sacking Wilson 5 times behind an Aaron Donald led relentless pass rush. The secondary was equally dominant as they prevented any big plays in the passing game and consistently got off the field on 3rd down. It was a total effort from a Rams defense that is playing their best football of the season. If you throw out the blowout loss to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the Rams defense has given up just 12 points on average through five of their last six games while failing to give up more than 17 points to any opponent during that stretch.
The Rams defense will have a stylistic match-up advantage against the Cowboys this week. On paper, the Rams defense ranks 12th against the run allowing just 104 yards per game, but they are playing much better than those averages suggest over the last few weeks. The Cowboys have been quick to abandon the running threat of Ezekiel Elliott in recent weeks, and if they are met with resistance again, we should only assume the same trend will be in play. As a result, this match-up will likely come down to Dak Prescott against this elite Rams pass defense. The addition of CB Jalen Ramsey has been huge for the Rams pass defense as he provides a shutdown coverage option to compliment the pass rush. Expect Ramsey to line-up against WR Amari Cooper, who was shut down without a single catch just three weeks ago in his highly profiled match-up with New England CB Stephon Gilmore. As a result, Prescott will likely not target his favorite receiver, which should lead to more targets for Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and the tight ends. Still, it is an extremely tough match-up that will only be more difficult against a threatening pass rush that ranks 4th in the NFL in sacks per game. Prescott and this Cowboys offense has failed to execute against threatening pass rushes this season, and that is the expectation that I have again this week.
Cowboys Defensive Expectations in Week 15
Last week I predicted the Cowboys defense would be in trouble against another mobile quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, but even I was surprised to see Trubisky parlay the match-up into a season-best performance that included three passing touchdowns with another 63 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Simply put, it was a horrendous showing from the Cowboys defense, and you could sense that the frustrations from the offense were carrying over to the defensive side of the football. Many have speculated that the Cowboys’ players have given up on their coaching staff and I cannot deny that claim after watching this team over the last few weeks.
I will say that this week’s match-up against the Rams is a better stylistic pairing for the Cowboys defense. Dallas has a strong pass rush, which seems to be QB Jared Goff’s kryptonite. Furthermore, running back Todd Gurley is clearly not the elusive rusher he was 1-2 years ago following last year’s knee troubles. If you look at all the key match-ups, the Cowboys will line-up strong against this Rams offense across the board. I actually believe that the Cowboys defense could force some downward pressure on the total for this game that is listed at 47 points. My problem with picking the total is the possibility that this Cowboys defense has another awful performance. Additionally, Sean McVay is much better, producing results in difficult match-up situations. The receiving threats of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and the emerging Tyler Higbee will ultimately be too much to overcome. The Rams get the job done, and the Cowboys get one last chance next week against Philadelphia!
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