Saturday, January 12 at 8:15 PM ET
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Cloudy; a couple of showers in the evening, then occasional rain and drizzle
Winds from the WNW 5 mph
Gusts: 6 mph
The Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in a game headlined by talented running backs Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott.
Gurley vs. Elliott
Todd Gurley, the defending NFL Offensive Player of the Year, led the league in rushing yards for most of the season but Elliott outpaced him down the stretch to win the regular season rushing title with 1,434 rushing yards against Gurley's 1,251. Gurley missed the last two games of the regular season because of knee inflammation and soreness but he still led the NFL with 21 touchdowns and he's a key part of a Rams team that ranked second in the league with 32.9 points per game.
Gurley is expected to play against the Cowboys but veteran backup C.J. Anderson stepped up in his absence and he'll likely keep a steady role within the offense. The Rams signed Anderson in Week 16 and he was dependable in the two games that Gurley missed, rushing for 299 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries.
Ezekiel Elliott is a multi-dimensional running back, just like Todd Gurley. Elliott averaged 95.6 rushing yards per game but he also caught 77 passes for 567 yards and three touchdowns. Controlling him will be a challenge for a Rams defense that struggled against the run, allowing 122.3 rushing yards per game (23rd in the league).
The Rams were expected to be much improved on defense but the unit hasn't exactly lived up to those expectations and despite featuring a front with Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers, they could have their hands full with Elliott, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Donald did lead the NFL with 20.5 sacks but the Rams will likely need the defense to come up with big plays late to secure a win against the Cowboys, who have a stout defense that was able to hold Drew Brees and the Saints to 10 points.
The Dallas Cowboys are:
5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing less than 90 rushing yards in their previous game
4-1 ATS in their last five games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game
6-2 ATS in their last eight games after accumulating more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game
6-2 ATS in their last eight games against NFC opponents
20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games on grass
The Los Angeles Rams are:
2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game
5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game
2-6-1 ATS in their last nine home games against a team with a winning road record
1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games
0-4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record
Todd Gurley will be the key to this game for the Rams. The Cowboys have been outstanding against the run, allowing just 94.6 rushing yards per game (5th in the NFL) and their defense ranks sixth in the league, allowing 20.3 points per game, which makes Jared Goff an X-factor for the Rams.
Goff passed for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 games and the Rams need him to recapture the form he displayed through the first 11 weeks of the season. I like the Rams to win, the Cowboys have and incredible defense but outside of Elliott their offense is a bit overrated but their defense will keep them in the game.
NFL Pick: Cowboys +7 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA