This Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys meet for the first time since their Divisional Playoff matchup last January. Of course, this time around, the game is much less important as we move into week two of the 2019 preseason rather than the final 8 of the postseason.
Still the link between the two teams remains strong. Dak Prescott and Jared Goff made their preseason debuts against one another, Jerry Jones caught fire for claiming his offense had Rams-level potential, and they've now played each other in consecutive seasons.
Let's take a look at the Rams and learn more about the Cowboys upcoming preseason opponent this week.
The Rams offense was one of the most dynamic in all of football in 2018. Finishing second in offensive DVOA last season behind only the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, the Rams put up big time points and yardage week in and week out.
They've become known for their play action passing game, so much so that it almost feels cheesy to discuss at this point. In the backfield is the talented running back Todd Gurley, who Ezekiel Elliott is looking to surpass in terms of overall contract value this offseason.
Beside him is quarterback Jared Goff, who despite being a number one overall pick and putting up some impressive numbers the past two seasons, is often questioned over whether “the system” makes him who he is. Los Angeles' receiving corps is full of weapons as well, led by Brandon Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp.
Upfront the Rams had one of the better offensive lines in football in 2018, with the veteran Andrew Whitworth having a career revitalization of sorts in recent years.
McVay has been anointed as the golden boy of creativity on offense the past two seasons, and the results speak for themselves. He took over an offense which ranked towards the bottom of the league, and has turned them into an absolute juggernaut. After a disappointing performance in the Super Bowl, however, the pressure mounted on both McVay and Goff's shoulders is as heavy as ever heading into 2019.
The Rams defense was certainly the weaker of the team's two units in 2018. Defensively, Los Angeles finished 19th in DVOA, despite some big name talent on that side of the ball. Aaron Donald is arguably the best player in all of football, and is a menace for any offensive line to deal with.
Though they lost Ndamukong Suh in free agency this year, their defensive line shouldn't experience too much of a hit overall. Donald is still the most important piece of that unit, and the team has high hopes for former first round pass rusher Dante Fowler as well.
In the back-end Eric Weddle joins a secondary that is loaded with star-level names like Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Whether they will all live up to their hype is yet to be seen, but Rams fans certainly have to be excited about what their secondary can look like in 2019. Plus, the Rams drafted Washington safety Taylor Rapp, a player who was all over draft boards of Cowboy fans last Spring.
The Los Angeles Rams are primed to contend for another NFC West crown, and for a chance to represent the conference in the Super Bowl for the second straight year. If the Cowboys want to take the next step in 2019, they'll likely have to step over the Rams at some point in the year.