In a season of change, these two offenses did not. The same QBs. The same play callers. Almost all of the same players.
The Rams return everyone from their 2019 starting offense save for the under-performing RB Todd Gurley.
But defensively, both teams have a ton of upheaval. The Cowboys Defense ranked #27 in EDSR last year and are replacing their entire defensive line save for DeMarcus Lawrence, as well as multiple players in the starting secondary. All told, nearly 50% of the Cowboys starting defense will be new, as will be their defensive coordinator.
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Meanwhile, the below average Rams 2019 defense has at least four new starters in 2020, and also suffers a tremendous loss of DC Wade Phillips. Their new DC is Brandon Staley, who has only been in the NFL for three seasons, and has never been anything other than an outside linebacker position coach. They also lost one of the best coverage LBs in the NFL, Corey Littleton. Of the 13 Rams defenders who logged 400+ snaps last year, almost 50% (6 of 13) are gone.
In an offseason of little practice and prep, having such offensive consistency with defensive overhaul for both teams is absolutely a positive for points being scored.
Next, let’s talk about how this Cowboys Offense may look different, and in a good way for this total:
We know Mike McCarthy is the new Cowboys Head coach. He replaces Jason Garrett. What does that mean?
Let's look at the early down run rate in the first three quarters since 2016:
Jason Garrett’s Cowboys: #4 most run-heavy team in the NFL (49% pass)
Mike McCarthy’s Packers: #1 most pass-heavy team in the NFL (61% pass)
This is a MAJOR difference.
I realize the Cowboys still have their same OC/play caller from 2019 (Kellen Moore) but there is no doubt McCarthy’s offensive influence will be strong and I would be shocked if this offense didn’t become more pass-heavy than it was in 2019 and in prior years under Garrett’s watch.
In their three most recent games, all three went over (35-30, 44-21 and 30-22).
Finally, this game is being played in the new Rams stadium, which purportedly has an extremely fast track.
I actually jumped on this total over a week ago, betting over 50, but I still think the angles align here to bet over even at 51.5.