LA RAMS (3-4) at DALLAS (4-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox
BETTING LINE: Cowboys by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Rams 3-2-2; Cowboys 4-2.
SERIES RECORD: Cowboys lead 19-18.
LAST MEETING: Cowboys beat Rams 22-10 on Oct. 9, 2022, in Los Angeles.
RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (15), PASS (7), SCORING (16).
RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (20), PASS (11), SCORING (T14).
COWBOYS OFFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (10), PASS (20), SCORING (5).
COWBOYS DEFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (18), PASS (3), SCORING (4).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Rams minus-2; Cowboys plus-6.
RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Cooper Kupp had one of the quietest games of his career last week against the Steelers, making just two catches for 29 yards despite being targeted seven times. Kupp dropped two passes on the opening drive, foreshadowing Los Angeles’ rough offensive day. The Super Bowl 56 MVP and 2021 triple crown of receiving winner rarely has back-to-back games in which he doesn’t make a significant difference.
COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Dak Prescott has an uncharacteristically high number of sub-80 passer ratings for this early in the season at three. He has responded to each with a triple-digit showing, including in the victory over the Chargers two weeks ago. The Dallas offense hasn't resembled the high-scoring unit of previous years in the play-calling debut of coach Mike McCarthy, who took over for Kellen Moore. This is another chance to build momentum under McCarthy's West Coast system.
KEY MATCHUP: Rams DT Aaron Donald vs. Dallas offensive line. This could be the third consecutive game for the line the Cowboys hoped to have going into training camp last year, but didn't until two games ago. Cohesion has appeared to be an issue so far for left tackle Tyron Smith, left guard Tyler Smith, center Tyler Biadasz, six-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin and right tackle Terence Steele. In the two games, Prescott has been sacked eight times and top running backs Tony Pollard and Rico Gathers have averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry. Donald can be big trouble on both fronts.
KEY INJURIES: With Dallas coming off its bye, the practice report started the week clean for the first time all season. That changed Thursday with Tyron Smith going on the report with a neck injury. The 32-year-old is questionable for the game. S Juanyeh Thomas (hamstring) was the only player listed to start the week, but he was a full practice participant and should play. LB Leighton Vander Esch will miss at least three more games with a neck injury.
SERIES NOTES: The teams are meeting for the fourth time in five seasons since the Rams beat the Cowboys in a divisional playoff in LA during the 2018 season. Dallas won two of the first three.
STATS AND STUFF: The Rams are playing a team coming off its bye for the second straight week. … The Cowboys are on a 10-game home winning streak, their longest since moving to AT&T Stadium in 2009. The club's most recent 11-game home winning streak came in 1991-92 at Texas Stadium. ... Rams QB Matthew Stafford hasn’t passed for more than 231 yards in any of the Rams’ past three games. After going 14 of 29 against Pittsburgh, he is completing 59.8% of his passes in 2023. That would be his lowest completion rate in a season since 2013. … Rookie WR Puka Nacua leads the NFL with 58 receptions, and his 752 yards receiving are third. He needs one reception and/or 51 yards receiving against Dallas to set two more NFL records for the most in each category in a player’s first eight games. … RBs Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman stepped seamlessly into the Rams’ rotation last week after Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers went to the IR, combining to rush for 127 yards and a touchdown. … K Lucas Havrisik will make his NFL debut for the Rams after they signed him off Cleveland’s practice squad to replace former Dallas K Brett Maher, who missed two field goals and an extra point last week. Maher lost his job with the Cowboys after missing four consecutive extra points in a wild-card victory at Tampa Bay last season. ... Prescott had a passing TD and a rushing score against the Chargers. He has 19 games with at least one of each, second in the league since he entered in 2016. ... CeeDee Lamb needs six catches to be the fastest Dallas receiver to reach 300 for his career. It's his 56th regular-season game. ... WR Brandin Cooks is facing the Rams for the second time after playing for them in 2018-19, when he had eight total TDs over two seasons. Cooks scored his first touchdown for the Cowboys against the Chargers. ... DE DeMarcus Lawrence returned a strip-sack of Stafford for a touchdown in last season's 22-10 Dallas victory. ... CB DaRon Bland has five interceptions in the past five home games. ... K Brandon Aubrey is two made field goals from tying Travis Coons' NFL record of 18 consecutive makes to start a career. Coons did it with Cleveland in 2015.
FANTASY TIP: Cowboys RB Tony Pollard has averaged 10.3 yards per carry in three meetings with the Rams. He was the backup to Ezekiel Elliott in all of those games. This time he is the lead back. Pollard had 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in a 44-21 victory his rookie year in 2019 and 86 yards and a TD on eight carries last season.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl