Ferocious Cowboys defense next challenge for reeling Rams

October 6, 2022 GMT
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Tx. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Tx. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Tx. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Tx. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
1 of 4
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Tx. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

DALLAS (3-1) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-2)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

BETTING LINE: Rams by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Cowboys 3-1; Rams 1-3.

SERIES RECORD: Tied 18-18.

LAST MEETING: Rams beat Cowboys 20-17 on Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif.

LAST WEEK: Cowboys beat Commanders 25-10; Rams lost to 49ers 24-9.

COWBOYS OFFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (19), PASS (23), SCORING (T-27).

COWBOYS DEFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (27), PASS (6), SCORING (3).

RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (28), RUSH (30), PASS (20), SCORING (29).

RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (7), PASS (20), SCORING (18).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Cowboys plus-2; Rams minus-2.

COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Micah Parsons hasn’t had a sack in the past two games, but should have chances to remedy that against a depleted Rams offensive line that allowed seven on Monday night. Parsons has at least two sacks in five of his 20 games.

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RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Allen Robinson. Los Angeles’ big free-agent acquisition on offense has yet to make an impact, with just nine receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown through four games. That is fourth on the team, behind receiver-turned-fullback Ben Skowronek.

KEY MATCHUP: Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs vs. Rams WR Cooper Kupp. Diggs figures to spend plenty of time covering the All-Pro Kupp in a matchup of last season’s leaders in interceptions and receptions, yards receiving and touchdowns. Diggs, whose 11 picks were the most in the NFL in 40 years, is on a roll with his first two interceptions this season in the past two games, plus a key pass breakup on fourth down in last week’s win over Washington. Diggs leads the NFL with nine breakups this season. Kupp was the first player to win the receiving triple crown since Carolina’s Steve Smith in 2005, finishing with 145 catches for 1,947 yards with 16 scores. He is the league leader with 42 receptions, while grabbing three of the Rams’ four touchdown passes as their offense is off to a sluggish start to the season.

KEY INJURIES: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is getting closer to a return after fracturing his right thumb in the opener, but isn’t quite ready. This will be Cooper Rush’s fourth consecutive start in his place. He’s 3-0 this season and 4-0 for his career as a starter, including a trip to Minnesota last year. ... CB Jourdan Lewis was a late scratch against the Commanders with a groin injury and didn’t participate in the first practice of the week. ... S Jayron Kearse (knee) is expected to return after missing three games. ... With long snapper Jake McQuaide sidelined for the season with a torn triceps muscle, the Cowboys signed Tucker Addington and Matt Overton to the practice squad and will have to pick one of them for the game. ... Rams third-string C Jeremiah Kolone is likely to start as Brian Allen (knee) remains out and Coleman Shelton (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week. ... OL David Edwards (concussion) could return after not playing against the 49ers, which would be a major boost up front. ... Already facing up to one month without S Jordan Fuller (hamstring), S Taylor Rapp is dealing with a rib injury that limited him in practice.

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SERIES NOTES: Dallas is 0-2 on the road against the Rams since they returned to LA, including a divisional playoff matchup during the 2018 season. ... The Cowboys were the first regular-season opponent when the Rams opened SoFi Stadium in 2020. No fans were allowed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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STATS AND STUFF: With a victory, Rush would be the fifth undrafted QB to win his first five career starts, joining Kyle Allen, Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, Mike Tomczak and Dieter Brock. ... Dallas is 30-10 when RB Ezekiel Elliott gets at least 20 carries, but that has happened just twice since the start of last season. ... Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has 11 catches of at least 15 yards, tied with Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown for the most in the NFL. ... WR Michael Gallup had a touchdown catch against Washington in his 2022 debut coming off a torn ACL from last January. ... K Brett Maher has four field goals of at least 50 yards. He shares the club record of six for a full season with Dan Bailey. Maher did it in 2018, Bailey five years earlier. ... The Cowboys have held the first four opponents to fewer than 200 net passing yards. They previously did that in 1977. ... The Rams have allowed 16 sacks through four games. They gave up 31 during the entire 17-game regular season in 2021. ... Los Angeles has been outscored 44-3 in the fourth quarter. ... LB Bobby Wagner (two) and DT Aaron Donald (two) are the only Rams with multiple sacks. The defense has seven sacks through four games after getting 12 at the same point last season. ... TE Tyler Higbee had 10 receptions for 73 yards against San Francisco. Higbee’s career high of 12 catches came in a 2019 loss at Dallas. ... K Matt Gay has not missed a kick this season. He is 7 of 7 on field goals and 7 of 7 on extra points. ... The Rams have scored touchdowns on seven of 13 red zone possessions, tied for 26th in the NFL.

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FANTASY TIP: Outside of Kupp, who has three 100-yard games and ran for a score in the fourth, there might not another Ram worth putting in your lineup this week. There are just too many question marks against the outstanding Cowboys defense to consider the likes of Robinson, RB Darrell Henderson Jr. or Cam Akers.

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