Jump out to an early lead
Of course, the best way to shut down the running game is to force head coach Mike McCarthy to abandon it. That won’t take very much. In fact, if the Rams jump out to a ten-point lead, the Cowboys will open up their passing game. And that will play right into the Rams defensive strength.
The Rams surrendered a lot of yards on the ground to the Cowboys in their 2019 loss. But through the air? The Rams were very stingy. In that game, Prescott completed just 15 passes for 212 yards, while six of those completions were to players no longer on the Cowboys’ roster. Of Prescott’s 212 yards passing and two touchdowns, 92 yards and both scores are no longer with their team. In fact, the Cowboys receivers remaining with the team this year accounted for two catches of five targets for 25 yards. And the Rams secondary is better this year. Much better.
Rams’ defense can dictate the season opener
If the Rams can force the Cowboys into a pass-only offense, they will dictate the terms and the outcome of the game. Don’t let their “hype” fool you. The Cowboys’ only success in the passing game whatsoever in their 2019 contest was targeting their third or fourth receiver. As soon as the Rams neutralize the running game, the team can take away Prescott’s time to throw in the pocket.
The Rams built their 2020 defense to stop the run and confuse the quarterback into making errors of judgment in the passing game. The Dallas Cowboys are the perfect team to test that against. Everyone is so “Cowboys offense full of superstars” right now that they are already due for a hard landing. Meanwhile, a Rams defense with two All-Pro defense players finds itself a three-point underdog in the season opener? I’m not about motivating the Rams players, but it motivates me just thinking about it.