The Los Angeles Rams open up their 2019 NFL Playoff journey on Saturday night with an NFC Divisional Round clash with the Dallas Cowboys. The No. 2-seeded Rams earned a Wild Card bye after a 13-3 campaign that resulted in an NFC West title, while the No. 4 Cowboys—the NFC East champs—bested the Seattle Seahawks this past Saturday at home, picking up their first postseason victory in four years. They’ll now go on the road needing a win at the Coliseum to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive against a team that is hungry to avenge its shortcomings in last year’s Wild Card round.
Oddsmakers opened the Rams as a seven-point favorite in this one and the line hasn’t moved much since. Bets are split almost equally on both teams at this juncture, with Los Angeles getting 52% of the total tickets for this game, while Dallas is generating more sizable action and is responsible for 59% of the total money wagered. The total has stayed steady at 49.5 points, a reasonable line considering these teams averaged a combined 54.1 points per game during the 2018 season and the stakes are raised in this win-or-go-home bout. Those that think the Cowboys can pull an outright upset might consider the moneyline, where Dallas is returning $2.78 for every $1 risked at +278 odds. Bettors would have to wager $3.45 to net $1 on the Rams winning straight-up at -345 odds.
Will the Rams finally earn their first postseason victory since Marc Bulger was under center following the 2004 campaign, or will the Cowboys keep their momentum going and punch their ticket to the NFC Championship Game? Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has a take on the contest that you will not want to miss. Before seeing which side the Vegas expert, who went 4-0 on his Wild Card predictions,
s picking against the spread, have a peek at the full schedule, start times, viewing information and odds for every Divisional Round game on tap. You can also check out key betting trends, head-to-head results, tweets, quotes and more for the upcoming Cowboys-Rams battle in the 2019 NFL Playoffs.
2019 NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Schedule And Odds
|Matchup (TV)||Seeding||Time (ET)||Odds||Total|
|Saturday, January 12|
|Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts (NBC)||No. 1 AFC vs. No. 6 AFC||4:35 p.m.||KC -5.5||57|
|Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys (FOX)||No. 2 NFC vs. No. 4 NFC||8:15 p.m.||LAR -7||49.5|
|Sunday, January 13|
|New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers (CBS)||No. 2 AFC vs. No. 5 AFC||1:05 p.m.||NE -4||47|
|New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (FOX)||No. 1 NFC vs. No. 6 NFC||4:40 p.m.||NO -8||51.5|
NFL Playoff odds, trends and facts courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook
2019 NFC Divisional Preview: No. 4 Dallas Cowboys (11-6) at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams (13-3)
The Rams are laying a touchdown in this matchup, a fair line given their prowess on both sides of the football this year. Los Angeles was a shade behind Kansas City in scoring (32.9 points per game) and total offense (421.1 yards per game), while finishing fourth in the NFL in turnover differential at plus-11. The defense isn’t anything special in terms of yardage and points conceded, but is capable of making big plays when they count, as shown by LA’s No. 3 ranking with 30 total takeaways during the 2018 NFL season. The Cowboys have gotten much better as the year went along and are coming into the Divisional Round as one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve won eight of their last nine games, including a gritty Wild Card victory over Seattle. Dallas boasts a balanced offensive attack, one that is relying less on star running back Ezekiel Elliott to move the chains thanks to the smart acquisition of wideout Amari Cooper, whom the team received via trade with the Oakland Raiders. The Cowboys are using these weapons to good effect and it showed this past weekend, as they saw Zeke go off for 137 yards and a score on the ground, while quarterback Dak Prescott had a 226-yard, one-touchdown. Prescott also punched in a critical TD with his legs in the fourth quarter, putting Dallas well ahead with just over two minutes left to play.
While Dallas was able to ring up three touchdowns to start the postseason, don’t be surprised if the club isn’t as successful in the red area this week. The Cowboys struggled to convert in the red zone all season and it could come back to haunt them against the Rams. Dallas scored touchdowns on only half of their trips inside the opposition’s 20-yard line this year, which was the worst of all teams to quality for the playoffs and ahead of only the Jets, Jaguars and 49ers. Los Angeles is also a quality home team—going 7-1 at the Coliseum in 2018—which will make things even more difficult for a Dallas squad that is just 3-5 on the road this season.
These foes have only clashed once since the Rams moved away from St. Louis. That game occurred near the start of the 2017 campaign, with Los Angeles coming up with a 35-30 victory at AT&T Stadium. Quarterback Jared Goff played well for LA that day, going 21-of-36 for 255 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked just once in the contest, a testament to how well the Rams offensive line played. They were even better blocking for star running back Todd Gurley, who went off for 215 total yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the shootout. Containing Gurley and getting pressure on Goff will be the two keys to an upset for the Dallas defense, a group that ranked in the top-10 for total defense, rushing yards allowed and points conceded in 2018. Whether or not it can be done remains to be seen, but the books aren’t buying Dallas as a Cinderella squad in the 2019 NFL Playoffs. Keep reading to see if expert handicapper Jon Price believes otherwise with his pick at the end of this article.
Rams Vs. Cowboys Betting Trends
- The Cowboys are just 3-9 straight-up and against the spread in playoff games since 1997. They are 0-7 SU and 2-5 ATS in their last seven postseason road games.
- The Rams are 3-1 SU and ATS against the Cowboys since 2011.
- Los Angeles is 0-2 SU and ATS in its two postseason appearances since its last victory in 2005, getting outscored by 53 points in those contests.
- Dallas is 3-0 ATS in games played in December or later against opponents that average or 30 or more points per game. In these matchups, the Cowboys have allowed an average of just 11 points per game.
- The Rams are 19-4 SU in their last 23 games as a favorite.
- The total has gone UNDER in six of Los Angeles’ last eight home games in January.
Rams Vs. Cowboys Head-to-Head Results (Since 2006)
|Jan 1, 2006||STL 20 – DAL 10|
|Sep 30, 2007||DAL 35 – STL 7|
|Oct 19, 2008||STL 34 – DAL 14|
|Oct 23, 2011||DAL 34 – STL 7|
|Sep 22, 2013||DAL 31 – STL 7|
|Sep 21, 2014||DAL 34 – STL 31|
|Oct 1, 2017||LAR 35 – DAL 30|
Rams Vs. Cowboys Quotes
Rams coach Sean McVay gave a detailed scouting report on his team’s first opponent in the 2019 NFL Playoffs (via 247Sports):
I think, first of all when you look at (Ezekiel Elliot) Zeke, I think he’s similar to Todd (Gurley) one of the most complete backs in the league, extremely productive. I think he’s got the ability to go through you or go around you with speed. He’s gotten a lot more involved in the pass game this year. I think he’s truly a complete back and you could see that a lot of what they do is predicated on just him getting a bunch of touches. Then, I think (Cowboys QB) Dak Prescott’s an incredible competitor…I think you’re talking about two elite competitors that are at their best in those crunch-time moments. Their production speaks for itself and you could see their teammates believe in them.
Then, when you watch their defense, unbelievable team speed on all three levels. Lot of movements, lot of ability to create pressure with a four-man rush. Extremely impressed with their inside linebackers with speed from (Leighton) Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith looks awesome. Byron Jones playing corner, where he’s kind of moved around throughout the course of his career going back and forth between safety and corner — he’s really playing at a high level. Then, you can see their safeties with (Jeff) Heath and (Xavier) Woods have been really productive players. Sean Lee, I don’t know how healthy he’ll be, but he’s always been a guy — just from having been in that division — that I think is incredible. Then, you see why Demarcus Lawrence is on the franchise tag, because he’s an elite rusher and you certainly feel his presence. They’re a great defense and extremely well-coached..
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had high praise for Jared Goff and Todd Gurley (via TheRams.com):
I just think [Goff has] gotten better and better the more he’s played, like really everybody, and particularly at that position. Played at a very high level all through the year last year, but just seemed to continue to get better and better. He does such a great job making big plays when they’re available, but also being efficient and minimizing the bad play. He’s just a fantastic football player
[Gurley is] a big, strong guy, he’s quick, he’s fast, he’s explosive, he can make you miss. He’s a great runner with patience and acceleration and vision and everything you’re looking for. They use him a lot of different ways. A complete back and someone who challenges every time the ball is snapped
Jared Goff shed some light on what the postseason means to him and his teammates (via TheRams.com):
I think opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be at your best when your best is required. And an opportunity to win a championship. I think you just understand how hard it is to get to the playoffs. You try to appreciate that and try to know that we’ve secured this first-round bye and will be in the final eight, but how rare that is. And try to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence clearly isn’t a fan of Goff, or any quarterback for that matter (via DallasCowboys.com):
He’s a quarterback. I don’t like quarterbacks. My impression is the same. I go into every week wanting to take the quarterback’s soul. When you get to look into a man’s eye and see fear in his heart, that’s when you know you’ve got him. That’s how I play the game, and that’s how we’re going to dictate the game.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spoke about what it means to return to the site of his first career start in the NFL (via DallasCowboys.com):
I don’t know if that holds a special place. Obviously that was a special game, a special moment just for it to be my first reps in the NFL, to be able to go out there and have the performance that I did. But it being preseason, that being two years ago, it doesn’t really matter right now. guess I couldn’t imagine it being back in the Coliseum against the team I started off my career, but I’ve always talked about the confidence I’ve had in myself and this team. Nothing has changed.
Rams Vs. Cowboys Tweets
Jon Machota posted a quote from Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on how well Jason Garrett has done at the helm of the Dallas organization:
Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips today on facing the Cowboys: “Jason Garrett has done a tremendous job there. He’s a better head coach than I was, and done better.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 9, 2019
Shane Gray believes that Los Angeles will be packed with Cowboys fans on Saturday:
#Cowboys will very likely have home field advantage for 2nd consecutive week in 2019 #NFL playoffs after hosting the #Seahawks and playing at the #LARams next week. I expect the Coliseum to look a lot like a Dallas home game on Saturday night. #Rams#NFLPlayoffs #DallasCowboys
— Shane Gray (@StillShaneGray) January 7, 2019
Cameron DaSilva noted that the Coliseum is likely going to have the largest road contingent of fans out of all the Divisional Round games in the 2019 NFL Playoffs:
Vivid Seats is projecting Saturday’s game to have 71% Rams fans and 29% Cowboys fans in attendance. That’s the largest road presence of any game this weekend.
Chargers: 20% pic.twitter.com/6NassZwfwZ
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) January 9, 2019
Darren Rovell pointed out that the prices for this contest skyrocketed after it became clear that the Cowboys would face the Rams instead of the Bears:
The power of the Cowboys: Cheapest playoff priced ticket, on StubHub, seconds before the Cody Parkey kick:
12 hours later:
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 7, 2019
David Helman threw it back to Dak Prescott’s NFL debut in LA:
Easy to forget with all that’s happened that Dak Prescott made his NFL debut against the Rams. He was auditioning for the Cowboys’ backup role after Kellen Moore broke his leg in training camp.
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) January 7, 2019
Skip Bayless likes that the Cowboys aren’t getting much respect from the sportsbooks or pundits:
LOVE it that the Cowboys are 7-pt dogs at Rams and that everyone on Undisputed gives them no shot. This team and its QB are detonated by haters & media undertakers. PLEASE KEEP BURYING DAK, ZEKE, AMARI AND THIS DEFENSE.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 9, 2019
Jori Epstein found that Dallas could tie with the Steelers for most playoff wins in NFL history with a victory in the Divisional Round:
If Cowboys upset Rams, they’ll move into tie for most playoffs win in NFL history.
All-time postseason wins right now:
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) January 9, 2019
Rams Vs. Cowboys Pro Prediction
Price’s Take: “The Rams-Cowboys game shouldn’t be as close as some are predicting. Dallas has been a decent team in the second half of the regular season, but could have easily been bounced at home in the Wild Card. Seattle elected to force Chris Carson the ball with their season on the line instead of putting it in Russell Wilson’s hands, costing the club a shot at making a postseason run. The Rams are too talented, too well-rested, too well coached and too motivated to drop a game at home, even if the advantage won’t be as strong as it would have had they played another team due to Dallas’ wide-reaching fan base that travels well. This could be close out of the gate as Los Angeles shakes the rust off from a long layoff–making Dallas an intriguing play in the first half–but ultimately the Rams take control in the second half and run away with the win. The Cowboys won’t be able to settle for field goals with a high-octane offense ready to get the ball back, which means their struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone this year will catch up to them on Saturday. That will make all the difference, allowing LA to cover the spread and advance to the NFC Championship Game.”
Pick: Rams -7
Prediction: Rams 35 – Cowboys 24
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News