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This week, the Cowboys come to town to visit the Rams. Both teams are coming off bounce-back wins, and this should be a good barometer game for a young St. Louis team that is gaining experience. Dallas’ defense is soft, but their offense will look to put up points on an injury depleted Rams defense. Here are Ramblin’ Fan’s 5 Keys to Victory for the St. Louis Rams:
1.) Stuff Demarco Murray
Murray has a penchant for gashing the Rams defense. Behind a solid offensive line, the Cowboys are looking to establish a more balanced attack. The Rams cannot hope to completely stop their opponent, but they can make them one dimensional and force QB Tony Romo to sit back in the pocket. Holding Murray to under 100 yards on the ground would go a long way towards a win. S T.J McDonald and DT Aaron Donald have proven to be solid run stuffers early on and they’ll need to keep their momentum going to slow Murray.
2.) Get after Tony Romo
If Murray can be contained, that gives the Rams defensive line plenty of opportunities to pressure Romo. Through their first two games, they have not generated many sacks. If that changes against Dallas, Romo will start making mistakes and committing turnovers.
3.) Stedman Bailey must contribute
With WR Tavon Austin questionable after spraining his MCL against the Bucs, Bailey is primed to step in and take his place in the offense. Bailey is the more polished player, and he will be eager to produce after his suspension was reduced from four to two games. He has been practicing normally with the offense since the beginning, so there should be minimal rust and his chemistry with his teammates should be intact.
4.) Keep the running game rolling
Zac Stacy and company rushed 29 times for 119 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs after struggling against the Vikings. The Cowboys defense is vulnerable and injury riddled, so the ground game should have little problem establishing a rhythm. The screen game should also be utilized as a way to brake off big gains down the field.
5.) Brian Shottenheimer must open up the offense
For the first time in a while the Rams have a dependable group of receivers that can make plays for the offense. Offensive Coordinator Shottenheimer must open up the playbook and stray from being so vanilla and predictable. If the running game is established, that’ll open up ample play action opportunities for the likes of WR’s Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens and TE Jared Cook.
Check back after the game for our 5 Keys to Victory: Revisited.