Week 2 of the NFL pre-season carries on Saturday evening with a big all-NFC showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams.
Even though it is just the exhibition campaign, these teams are familiar with one another and are certainly aware that this could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship game come late January. That said, both squads enter the second week of training camp with some unresolved questions, and many storylines do exist on both sides.
For Dallas, the much-maligned star running back Ezekiel Elliott remains out due to his contractual holdout. With no end in sight, it will continue to be the capable veteran Alfred Morris filling the void. But with the Elliott saga ongoing, and with the likes of Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper also requesting more money – it remains to be seen how much of a distraction this will be on the playoff-bound Cowboys.
For Sean McVay’s L.A. Rams, much of the discussion in the pre-season has surrounded whether or not they can return to the levels they reached last season. There are some obvious subtractions from last year’s NFC Champions, but the levels in which they move the ball on offense and pressure opposing QB’s on defense, should allow them to again top a competitive NFC West division. Heading into Saturday night, it is uncertain just how much of a run the Rams’ starters will get. McVay is well-known for sitting his key talent out for all games, which is something to monitor before kickoff.
Rams vs. Cowboys Betting Odds:
Dallas Cowboys -3 (-110)
vs. Los Angeles Rams +3 (-110)
Over 39 (+100)
Under 39 (-120)
Rams vs. Cowboys Pick:
Though Los Angeles is listed as the home side for this contest, it’s actually being played on the beautiful island of Hawaii. And while the setting is nice, it means more rest and relaxation and less travel for many of Los Angeles’ key players. Many of the Rams’ starters have not made the trip to the Aloha State, and instead much of the offensive attack will be left up to Blake Bortles and Brandon Allen.
For Dallas, they’ll be taking Week 2 of the pre-season a little more seriously. Dak Prescott is expected to see upwards of a quarter on Saturday evening, and though two of his key offensive linemen are injured in Zack Martin and Tyron Smith, Prescott wants more reps. Amari Cooper will be out for Dallas at wideout, while Randall Cobb will make his debut in the silver and blue. It will be interesting to see if the speedster can strike immediate chemistry with Prescott in the passing game.
Beyond Prescott, expect Cooper Rush and Mike White to continue battling it out for the backup quarterback job. Rush was solid in Week 1 of training camp and should be able to continue that trend against the backups and third-stringers of the Rams.
While the fans in Hawaii will mostly be treated to a football game filled with backups, it at least seems that Jason Garrett and Dallas will make this game a little more seriously than Sean McVay and his Rams’ side. Dallas hasn’t been as active in scrimmages against other teams and will value the reps of their starters on Saturday night. With more game-breaking talent on display, and the hot hand of Cooper Rush continuing, lean with Dallas to emerge as victors from Hawaii in Week 2 action.