It's time to watch the Dallas Cowboys do their best to extend their stay in the NFL Playoffs this January. With a win today, they'd make it to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 1996. To earn that, they'll have to beat the two seed LA Rams on the road this Saturday night. The Cowboys, entering this game as a seven-point underdog, are 9-2 since trading for Amari Cooper and boast one of the best defenses in the league.
They have what it takes to take the win in Los Angeles tonight. The only wish that truly matters this week is getting the victory versus the Rams. But even still, let's have some fun with this week's edition of “Cowboys Wishlist.”
Wish #1: Don't Let Aaron Donald Cause Turnovers
The Cowboys are not going to neutralize Aaron Donald. It's okay to admit that. Donald will be this year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year and for good reason. He's racked up 20.5 sacks this year along with four forced fumbles and 41 QB hits, according to Pro Football Reference.
Lining up against Joe Looney and Connor Williams (or Xavier Su'a-Filo), Donald will surely get to sack Dak Prescott. He'll constantly disrupt the pocket. In this, the Rams' defense shines. Once Donald wrecks chaos for opposing quarterbacks, we've seen opponents constantly make mistakes, including throwing interceptions.
This is what I wish the Cowboys avoid. I believe Dallas can win this game even if Aaron Donald gets sacks, but if Dak Prescott gives the ball away in these plays, it'll be hard to upset the Rams.
Wish #2: Ezekiel Elliott Eats With Two Spoons
Prior to the season, the talent on the Rams' defense looked very scary. For some reason, though, they haven't been able to live up to the hype. In fact, they rank 23rd in the league versus the run, allowing 122 yards per game. If the Cowboys want to win, they'll have to rely on controlling the time of possession, which means it's time for Zeke to shine.
Last Sunday he ran for 137 yards versus the Seahawks' defense and managed to earn 32 in the passing game. I believe he'll be the Cowboys' best player tonight and the key to victory in this game.
Wish #3: Involve Dak Prescott in the Running Game
It's clear that Dak Prescott finds success when the Cowboys decide to use his legs. Although the team's defense is great, the offense needs to respond in this one. The Rams have a powerful offense and they'll likely be able to put points on the board. If Dallas wants to do the same, they should let Prescott run, giving the Rams something else to think about on defense.
Pair that with Ezekiel Elliott runs, play action and well, suddenly the Cowboys' offense isn't as easy to defend.
Wish #4: Limit Todd Gurley in the Passing Game
Todd Gurley will be back in the gridiron versus the Cowboys and he'll be looking to deal damage. The Rams do a great job getting the ball to him in short passes, something that I expect Dallas to properly defend. Whether it's by playing Jourdan Lewis like they did against Alvin Kamara or by letting Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch get after him.
Either way, if the Cowboys are able to limit Gurley's catches, they'll be well on their way to a win.