Los Angeles Rams Vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview, Odds: Major Playoff Implications For Both Teams In NFC Showdown

Alika JennerGetty Images

The Los Angeles Rams have looked almost nothing like the 13-3 team that advanced all the way to the Super Bowl in the 2018 NFL season. But if they can come out of AT&T Stadium in Dallas with a win over the Cowboys on Sunday in a rematch of last season’s divisional-round playoff game — per The Ringer — their hopes of at least returning to the postseason remain alive.

On the other side of the ball, Dallas comes into Sunday’s matchup with a sub-.500 record and a three-game losing streak — but holding the lead in the NFC East and the fourth seed in the playoffs. But even if the Cowboys lose, their game next week in Philadelphia against the Eagles — who are also 6-7 — will likely decide the division, and possibly even the future of head coach Jason Garrett. Rumors have suggested that Ohio State University coach Urban Meyer is waiting in the wings to take over in Dallas.

The Dallas struggles have come even with one of the best offenses in the NFL, which came into Week 15 leading the league in offensive yardage, as well as average yards per play and yards gained per drive, according to Inside the Star. Quarterback Dak Prescott also leads the NFL in passing yards.

Prescott is now only the second quarterback in the Cowboys’ 60-year history to throw for 4,000 yards, a feat only Tony Romo has previously accomplished in Dallas.

Winning three of their last four games and two in a row — with 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns in those last two games — the Rams enter Sunday’s showdown as the slimmest of favorites on the road, with oddsmakers seeing a spread of just one point, according to Sports Illustrated. The 8-5 Rams have performed slightly better against the spread this season, going 9-4.

A loss for the Rams, coupled with a win on Sunday by the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings — who will be playing a road game against the 5-8 Los Angeles Chargers — does not eliminate head coach Sean McVay’s charges, but would come close. In that scenario, they must beat the team with the NFL’s best record, the San Francisco 49ers, and then finish with a win over the Arizona Cardinals. At the same time, the Vikings would need to lose their last two games to the 11-3 Green Bay Packers in Week 16 and the Chicago Bears in Week 17.

That way, the Rams would grab the second NFC Wild Card spot via tiebreaker, due to a superior conference record. But a win would clearly put them in a far better, albeit improbable position for a home-stretch playoff run.