Yahoo Sports NFL senior writers Charles Robinson, Kimberley A. Martin and Terez Paylor select games this week that will leave us buzzing heading into Monday.
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Considering that both of these franchises likely need to win out in to have a realistic shot at the playoffs, you might as well consider this one a mid-December playoff game.
The implications are more dire for the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett, who is coaching for his job for the remainder of the season. Indeed, this is a rematch of the playoff loss from last season that truly put Garrett’s tenure in Dallas on the clock. Team owner Jerry Jones refused to buy into a Garrett contract extension after he got out-coached by the Rams’ Sean McVay in that divisional round loss and things have been touch and go ever since.
Conversely, a win here would help the Rams regain momentum and save a season that has been wildly frustrating at times, largely because of an offensive line that fell apart early in the season. One way or another, someone is walking away with a damaging loss in this one.
Rams at Cowboys
Will the real Dallas Cowboys please stand up?
Once upon a time, they were considered Super Bowl contenders and clear shoo-ins for the NFC East title. But, as we know, the Cowboys have a way of masquerading as frontrunners from time to time. With each disastrous loss and conservative play call, head coach Jason Garrett’s job status has become more tenuous, and with his team currently mired in a three-game losing streak (and losing seven of the past 10 games), more than just the playoffs is on the line in Dallas.
Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion Rams are rolling at just the right time to pull off an improbable late-season surge. Todd Gurley has fresh legs, Jared Goff is protecting and throwing the football better of late (717 passing yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions over their past two games), and the Rams suddenly seem dangerous again.
With only a few weeks left in the regular season, there is no margin for error for either team. The Cowboys are tied with Philly for the top spot in the NFC East and the Rams need teams like the Seahawks, Vikings — and Cowboys — to falter down the stretch
Rams at Cowboys
The Rams (8-5) are beginning to look like the ass-kicking group they were last year on the way to the Super Bowl. They’re rushing the daylights out of the passer, pounding opponents with the ground game and using play-action off that to rack up yards. Who knows why it took the Rams, winners of five of their past seven, this long to get back to their bread and butter, but it’s working.
Dallas is sinking, as it sits at 6-7 as losers of three straight. Its only hope Sunday is to contain the run, hit quarterback Jared Goff and let Ezekiel Elliott dominate. It’s possible.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett absolutely needs to win this game – and many more – to save his job.
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