Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 21:25 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Action
Dallas still missing signature win
The Dallas Cowboys started the season with three convincing wins against bad teams and that has become something of a pattern their season. Dallas are 6-7 but they are yet to beat a team who have a winning record and even more worryingly for the Cowboys five of those wins have come against teams who have three wins or fewer. This week the 8-5 Los Angeles Rams come to town and, with a crunch match against the Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon, Dallas really need a win to have a chance of staying alive in the race for the NFC East title.
Unfortunately, they have been in terrible form in recent weeks. A 13-9 loss against the New England Patriots was followed by a losses to the Buffalo Bills side and then the Chicago Bears so it would be a surprise if LA were their first big name scalp for the Cowboys. The Rams shocked everybody with a win over the Seattle Seahawks last week as they kept themselves in the NFC Wildcard Race, so will come to Dallas feeling confident. Sunday's game will be incredibly close, but I'm taking the Rams -1.5 at 10/11.
Gurley and Elliott go head to head
Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott are two of the biggest name running backs in the league, but haven't really set the world alight this season. Elliott has, comfortably, been the better of the two but with Dallas boasting the best passing offence in the league it is difficult to argue that the team is as reliant on Zeke as they were a few seasons ago. Gurley hasn't been the same since an injury last season but looked better in last week's win over the Seahawks, posting 113 total yards and a touchdown.
The Rams have shown flashes of their explosive offence at times this season, and if their main running back can get even close to his best they will be a real threat as the season draws to a close. I expect the Dallas response to the Rams offence will be to rely on Elliott and the running game more than they have done. If quaterback Dak Prescott can orchestrate a number of run-heavy, clock-killing drives then I think that is the Cowboys' best chance of a win, and that tactic will involve a heavy dose of Elliott, look for both running backs to find the endzone.
Rams defence the difference
Last year it was all about the Rams offence, head coach Sean McVay set the league on fire scoring 30 or more points in 13 of their 17 games. This year the offence has stuttered a little but, on defence it is a different story. Led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald they have shutdown opposing offences with surprising regularity. Outside of a an aberration on Monday Night Football, when the Baltimore Ravens hung 45 points on them, the Rams have held their opponents under 21 points in six of their last seven games.
LA's defensive dominance has stepped up another notch recently, giving up a total of 19 points across games against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. Dallas struggled against a stifling Patriots defence a couple of weeks ago and I expect them to have similar issues again on Sunday. Look for LA to hold their hosts under 24.5 points as they run out victorious.