With the Cowboys sitting at 2-3 and currently in 3rd place in the NFC East, what should be expected when they host the 0-5 St. Louis Rams this week? The Cowboys have lost games to the Jets, Lions and Patriots after blowing leads. Then they needed to come from behind against the Redskins and 49ers to win. Who are the real Cowboys? Who will show up on Sunday?
The Rams come to Texas Stadium with the 23th ranked rushing offense and the 25th ranked passing offense. You would think the Cowboys defense would be able to dominate the Rams offense with their number one ranked rushing defense and 14th ranked passing defense. Steven Jackson should be the Cowboys main focus as he is the Rams primary threat. Sam Bradford now has Brandon Lloyd to throw to, but he has only three touchdown passes in his first five games and has also been sacked 21 times. The Cowboys defense should be able keep Bradford under control and hopefully create some turnovers.
If the Cowboys cannot get their 27th ranked rushing offense jump started against the NFL’s worst rushing defense in the Rams, then the problem is even bigger than most think. With Felix Jones out with an injury DeMarco Murray will get his chance to show himself off in front of the home crowd. Maybe it’s the spark the Cowboys running game needs to go along with the added experience on the offensive line with Montrae Holland taking over for injured rookie Bill Nagy. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are now healthy and should be able to stretch the Rams defense. Add the surprise of Laurent Robinson to the mix and the Cowboys should be able to put up some points Sunday.
It’s understood that these are just numbers and rankings and they mean nothing once the game starts. But I see this as the Cowboys opportunity to put a complete game together for the first time this season and get themselves to 3-3 before a very big divisional game in Philadelphia on October 30th. The NFC East is a very close race right now and the Cowboys still have five more games to play against their division rivals. That is what makes the game against the Rams so important for the Cowboys. With the Giants and Eagles having their bye week and the Redskins traveling to Carolina with quarterback questions, the division might get even closer come Sunday night.
If the Cowboys are to make something of this season then this has to be the game that gets them going. Falling to 2-4 cannot be an option. If there is such a thing as a must game, then this is it for the Cowboys. It’s time to put the three horrible losses behind them and move on. But if they lose to the Rams it may be the start of a free fall similar to 2010 that they won’t be able to recover from. Even though the Rams are 0-5 they are still a team hungry for a win. The Cowboys cannot look past the Rams with the Eagles next on the schedule. They need to hit the Rams with everything they have. They need to come out and make sure the Rams go home with their sixth loss of the season. The Cowboys can’t feel like they can dodge the Rams game and move on. So, like the Dodge saying goes…
“If you can’t Dodge it, Ram it!!”