SNF: Cowboys vs. Rams odds, picks & predictions (Sept. 13)
The NFL’s decision to make the first Sunday Night Football matchup of 2020 between two teams that missed the playoffs in 2019 may seem to be absurd, but this meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) carries plenty of intrigue. Join us as we handicap this contest and search for the best available bet.
Mon, September 14 2020, 12:20 AM
Los Angeles Rams
Cowboys hold edge over Rams in Sunday Night Football opener
The Cowboys are in search of their first win in the Mike McCarthy era, while the Rams look to open SoFi Stadium in winning fashion. The favored visitors would appear to have the edge.
Dallas was first in total offense (431.5 yards per game) as well as yards per play (6.46) in 2019 in spite of the timid coaching of Jason Garrett. He got the long-overdue axe in the offseason, paving the way for Super Bowl XLV-winning McCarthy to take the reins. Dak Prescott led the NFL’s second-ranked passing offense in 2019. This unit, featuring Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the perimeter, looks even more dangerous thanks to the addition of CeeDee Lamb, the standout receiver from Oklahoma who fell into their laps in the first round of the draft.
The passing attack works so well because opponents have to respect the run game, led by Ezekiel Elliott. Skeptics will say he exits a "down year," but Elliott was still fifth in the league in rushing yards per game (84.8) and all-purpose touchdowns (14) last season.
L.A.'s defense was decimated in the offseason
The Cowboys should be able to work their will against this Rams defense. Los Angeles saw linebackers Dante Fowler and Cory Littleton, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and free safety Eric Weddle all depart this offseason, along with longtime defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. The unproven Brandon Staley will have his hands full trying to stymie Dallas’ attack in Week 1.
The Cowboys are putting the "D" back into "Dallas"
Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who regressed to a 22-16 touchdown-interception ratio in 2019, will have his hands full with a re-tooled Cowboys defense. Dontari Poe, Aldon Smith, and Everson Griffen were all brought in to complement star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs should be an adequate replacement for Byron Jones.
Goff can no longer rely on Todd Gurley in the backfield – instead, he has the tandem of career backup Malcolm Brown and unproven rookie Cam Akers.
The numbers favor Dallas
The trends suggest that the Cowboys are the right side as well. The Rams are just 5-12-1 against the spread in their last 18 games as an underdog, while Dallas – who beat L.A. 44-21 when these teams met in Week 15 last year – is 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 September games as betting favorites.