5 Bold Predictions: St. Louis Rams Vs. Dallas Cowboys


Jun 17, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) looks on during minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Rise and shine, Rams Nation. Today, the St. Louis Rams (1-1) take on the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) in the Edward Jones Dome, giving the Rams another shot at clinching a victory in front of the home crowd. As always, most analysts have already laid out their picks and predictions for the day, with most settling on the Dallas Cowboys and their monstrous run game to overpower the St. Louis Rams currently-ranked 30th defense, in terms of rushing yards allowed.  However, the Rams will be faced a heavily weakened Dallas defensive unit; one that will be playing without their top pass rushers, top defensive signal callers, and cannot seem to find a cornerback willing to step up and take over the No.1 role on the outside. Last week, that spelled victory for Austin Davis and Co., despite it being his first start, on the road, with miserable conditions.

Taking into account all of these factors, Ramblin’ Fan has already released our top individual matchups, keys to the game, and overall predictions. The only thing left to cover are our bold predictions…

1. The St. Louis Rams secondary will hold Dez Bryant to under 75 yards receiving

Last week, the combination of Janoris Jenkins, EJ Gaines, and Brandon McGee held Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans in check for the entire game. In fact, the dynamic duo managed a mere 100 combined yards receiving and zero touchdowns. This week, the St. Louis Rams will have to repeat that performance against a starting-caliber quarterback, Tony Romo. However, both Romo and Bryant have been ailing this week at practice, and the Cowboys defensive line has already allowed seven sacks this regular season. Poor pass blocking plus lack of health could equal a big day for the St. Louis Rams defense.

2. Aaron Donald will finish the game leading both teams in tackles for loss and sacks

Despite not managing a sack this year, Robert Quinn has been completely changing opposing offensive game plans, forcing quarterbacks to make rushed decisions and get the ball out of their hands quickly. Teams have thrown two, three, and sometimes four blockers at Robert Quinn to limit him off the edge, and, yet, he still leads all 4-3 defensive ends in hits on the quarterback. Facing off against Tyron Smith and, likely, Jason Witten for the majority of the game, it would not be surprising to see Quinn end Week 3 without a sack. However, all of that focus on the defensive end should leave Aaron Donald one-on-one versus an extremely inexperienced Dallas interior offensive line. Ronald Leary and Zack Martin has both struggled this season, particular in run blocking, when they are the “engagers” on the line. Expect a massive day for Donald in the backfield…

3. Austin Davis will end the game with more passing touchdowns than Tony Romo

Considering that Austin Davis is one of only 22 players in league history with 400+ passing yards and no pass touchdowns, this might be the boldest of all the predictions.  However, this week, he’ll have the benefit of playing at home, with Stedman Bailey, arguably the top offseason performer for the Rams, returning to the lineup. Against Tampa Bay, Davis was effective in moving the football down the field, but struggled on the shorter field. This week, with more experience and facing a worse secondary, expect those short field inefficiencies to change.

4. The St. Louis will (finally) win the turnover battle

Last week, the St. Louis Rams technically broke even in the turnover battle, with special teams plays not counting towards the overall total. This week, playing the “Turnover Machine” Tony Romo, the Rams have no excuse to not come out on top in the takeaway battle. As previously mentioned, the Cowboys offensive line has struggled to protect their quarterback this season, which led to a myriad of blundering in Dallas’ season opener against the 49ers. Combining Dez Bryant and Tony Romo not being 100% healthy with the St. Louis Rams pass rush should be a potent mixture this afternoon.

5. DeMarco Murray will end the game with under 75 yards rushing

These bold predictions would not be considered “bold” without something mentioning DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys tailback has literally made a name for himself facing St. Louis, racking up well-over 400 combined rushing yards in his last two games against the Rams. However, he has never played this group of defenders under the leadership of Gregg Williams at the defensive signal calling helm. Despite the final tally, the St. Louis Rams were actually pretty successful against Adrian Peterson in Week 1 and Bobby Rainey in Week 2. In the opener, a handful of gadget plays allowed Cordarrelle Patterson to skew the numbers, while Peterson was kept mostly in-check. In Week 2, the Rams run defense was stout, at times, with 10 of Bobby Rainey’s carries totaling a mere -2 yards. However, some poor tackling in horrendous conditions allowed five of those carries to result in 102 yards. Facing off against an ailing quarterback, with limited offensive weapons, in “ideal” tackling conditions, expect Gregg Williams to unveil a masterful game plan that will end DeMarco Murray’s 150+ yard streak.