Cowboys-Rams Preview Capsule
DALLAS (11-6) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (13-3)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE — Rams by 7 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Dallas 9-7-1, Los Angeles 7-7-2
SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 17-16
LAST MEETING — Rams beat Cowboys, 35-30, Oct. 1, 2017
LAST WEEK — Cowboys beat Seahawks, 24-22; Rams had bye, beat 49ers 48-32 on Dec. 30
AP PRO32 RANKING — Cowboys No. 11, Rams No. 2
COWBOYS OFFENSE — OVERALL (22), RUSH (10), PASS (23).
COWBOYS DEFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (5), PASS (13).
RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (2), RUSH (3), PASS (5).
RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (19), RUSH (23), PASS (14).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - These NFC mainstays’ first playoff meeting since January 1986 in Anaheim, when Eric Dickerson rushed for 248 yards and two TDs in 20-0 win for Rams. Franchises have split eight postseason games. Rams are most frequent playoff opponent for Dallas. ... Cowboys hold training camp in Southern California and have huge local fan base, as America’s Team does everywhere. ... Two elite running backs showcased. Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott won second NFL rushing title, while LA’s All-Pro Todd Gurley led league in TDs and finished third in rushing race. ... Rams All-Pro DT Aaron Donald led NFL with 20 1-2 sacks, nearly twice as many as Cowboys leader Demarcus Lawrence’s 10 1-2. Rams had 41 team sacks to Cowboys’ 39, yet Rams had 97 more sack yards. ... Rams finished third in NFL with 18 interceptions. Cowboys were 26th with just nine, fewest among playoff teams. ... Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was Cowboys’ head coach from 2007-10, going 1-2 in playoffs. Veteran defensive mastermind still speaks fondly of Dallas, stays in touch with Jerry Jones. ... Cowboys haven’t won playoff game on road since January 1993. ... Cowboys haven’t won two playoff games in same season since 1995-96 on the way to last Super Bowl title. Dallas beat Seattle last week in wild-card round. ... Cowboys are on five-game losing streak in divisional playoff round. ... Dallas’ next playoff victory will be 36th, tying Pittsburgh for most in NFL history. Patriots enter weekend with 34. ... Win over Seahawks was Dallas’ 62nd playoff game, passing Steelers for most in NFL history. ... QB Dak Prescott hurt Seahawks on ground, rushing for three first downs in fourth quarter and plunging for winning TD. Rams could be similarly vulnerable with subpar rushing defense. ... Cowboys punt returner Tavon Austin spent first five NFL seasons with Rams as first-round pick. He was LA’s leading receiver in 2016, but used largely as ball carrier by coach Sean McVay last season when he couldn’t crack starting receiver group. Traded to Dallas in April. ... Rams haven’t won playoff game since 2004-05 season. ... Rams finished tied for NFL’s best record at 13-3 after winning second straight NFC West title, earning bye. ... LA is second team in NFL history to host playoff game in temporary stadium, and first to do it in back-to-back seasons. ... McVay seeking first career playoff victory at 32 years old. He’s led LA to 24 wins in two transformative seasons. ... Rams are averaging 32.8 points per game against NFC East opponents under McVay. ... Rams went 7-1 at Coliseum this season, losing only to Philadelphia. ... LA led NFC with 421.1 yards and 32.9 points per game. ... Gurley expected to play first game in four weeks. He sat out final two regular-season games to rest injured knee, seeks his first career playoff victory. So does QB Jared Goff, who finished fourth in NFL with 4,688 yards passing to earn Pro Bowl selection. ... Backup Rams RB C.J. Anderson rushed for 299 yards in two games with Gurley out. McVay expected to use both backs. ... Donald also led NFL with 25 tackles for loss in self-described best season. Was only unanimous selection for All-Pro team. ... First playoff game with Rams for veterans CB Aqib Talib, CB Marcus Peters, DT Ndamukong Suh. Talib has two career interceptions against Cowboys, returning one 103 yards for TD in 2017.