The first great test of the season is upon the Dallas Cowboys as they prepare to battle the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. On the road, looking to continue a three-win streak with a backup quarterback, the defending Super Bowl Champs could be a problem for the ‘Boys. But it's not all bad for DAL.
Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times in Monday night's 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The depleted offensive line for the L.A. Rams took another blow when they lost backup center, Coleman Shelton. Shelton sustained a high ankle sprain early in the first half against the Niners, who was filling in as a reserve despite winning the right guard job to start the year.
Shelton will be sidelined this Sunday when the Cowboys head to SoFi Stadium.
Center Coleman Shelton had a high ankle sprain, 4-6 weeks out.
Jordan Fuller re-aggravated hamstring, out a couple of weeks per McVay.
The Rams starting center Brian Allen has missed the last three games due to an issue with his knee, and no update has been made from the Rams indicating if he will be available or not.
The starting left guard, David Edwards is currently in concussion protocol and, according to Rams head Coach Sean McVay is “making good progress,” but it remains to be seen regarding his status for the game Sunday.
The Cowboys are averaging nearly four sacks a game. They have 15 on the year heading into week five, the second-best in football. The Rams have given up 16 sacks, the second-most sacks thus far this season, only behind the Washington Commanders.
Although the Cowboys only produced two sacks a week ago against Washington, the defensive line dominated at the point of attack. They were in the face of Carson Wentz all game long. They forced two interceptions, and pressure by Donovan Wilson even forced Wentz into an intentional grounding penalty.
Even with another high-level performance from the defense holding the Commanders to only 10 points, Washington ran for over 130 yards, which was not ideal. The rams have two steady running backs they like to use, Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers, and they tend to ride the hot hand.
The last thing the Cowboys need is a repeat of the 2019 divisional-round playoffs, where they combined for over 200 yards on the ground.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn gave his unit the home work assignment of watching the Rams on Monday night football. Suffice it to say, they like what they are seeing with all these 49ers sacks on Matt Stafford.
Fresh meat with Rams OL on short week.
The Cowboys have the best rush in NFL
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 4, 2022
With seven sacks, and a combined 36 pressures as a unit from the 49ers' defense, Cooper Kupp was still able to haul in 14 catches for 122 yards.
The Dallas pass coverage has been great so far this season, but will they be able to hold Kupp in check? He always seems open, and it feels like the Rams' offense revolves around hiking the ball and looking to see if he got loose.
Micah Parsons and company need to stay in Stafford's face all game long. Keep the game plan similar to last week. Even if they aren't producing sacks, the presence of Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and others can help make it tough on the depleted Rams offensive line.
This game is challenging for me to judge. If the defense can take advantage of the disjointed OL of the Rams, hopefully, they can put the Rams behind the sticks on offense forcing Los Angeles to throw the football. Doing so will allow the pass rush to beat up on possibly the worst offensive line in football.
I am looking for a solid performance from the pass rushers. You couldn't ask for a better matchup for a ferocious group of players.