While it won’t be the ideal opening the league was hoping for, we finally get our first look at brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday Night Football as the Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. The NBC kickoff at the $5 billion stadium is set for 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday.
In the last 60 years, these teams have met 35 times, 26 in the regular season, and Dallas leads 18-17. Last year the Cowboys won in Dallas 44-21 in Week 15 after the Rams won the playoff game between the two teams in January 2019. The teams haven’t played a regular-season game in Los Angeles since the Cowboys won 24-21 in 1990.
Dallas Cowboys Outlook: New Coaches, Same Stars
The Jason Garrett era ended in Dallas with another 8-8 season in 2019 as the Cowboys missed the playoffs. The offense was top 10 in scoring at 27.1 points and No. 1 in yards at 431.5 yards per game. The defense was 11th in scoring at 20.1 points but forced just 17 turnovers on the season as Dallas lost six games by one possession.
Super Bowl champion Mike McCarthy takes over as head coach and inherits an offense that is mostly the same with QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Gone are C Travis Frederick, TE Jason Witten and WR Randal Cobb, but Dallas drafted WR CeeDee Lamb and added K Greg Zuerlein.
Prescott established new career highs with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, while Elliott ran for 1,357 yards and 12 scores. Cooper and Gallup both went over 1,100 yards receiving and combined for 145 catches and 14 touchdowns.
The defense added DE Everton Griffen, DE Aldon Smith and DT Dontari Poe while losing DE Michael Bennett, DE Robert Quinn and CB Byron Jones. Dallas had just seven interceptions last season and needs to replace two of the top three sack leaders. LB Jaylon Smith led the team with 142 tackles, while LB Sean Lee added 86.
Los Angeles Rams Outlook: New Stadium, New Look
The Rams suffered a Super Bowl loss hangover last year as they dropped four games in the standings and missed the playoffs at 9-7, third in the NFC West. Sean McVay’s offense took a step back with just 24.6 points per game and 24 turnovers.
He brought in Kevin O’Connell as the new offensive coordinator. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips retired after his squad allowed 22.8 ppg and finished in the middle of the league in yards allowed.
The offense returns QB Jared Goff, who threw for 4,638 yards in 2019 with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. RB Todd Gurley is now in Atlanta, so the backfield consists of draftee Cam Akers, Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson.
The latter two ran for a combined 402 yards and five touchdowns last year and are not pass-catching running backs.
The wide receiver position has two of the top three targets back as Robert Woods (90 receptions, 1,134 yards, two TD) and Cooper Kupp (94 receptions, 1,161 yards, 10 TD) are both back, but Brandin Cooks is now in Houston. Josh Reynolds, who had 21 catches last year, and rookie Van Jefferson, are replacing him.
The defense has a new coordinator with Brandon Staley and also lost LB Dante Fowler, LB Cory Littleton, LB Clay Matthews and S Eric Weddle while adding DL A’Shawn Robinson, LB Leonard Floyd, LB Terrell Lewis and S Terrell Burgess.
Robinson is on the NFI list with a heart ailment, so he won’t join Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers on the line as planned. The Rams do get a full season from CB All-Pro Jalen Ramsey, while DBs Taylor Rapp, Troy Hill and John Johnson all had two interceptions last year.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Betting Lines
● Cowboys spread: -2.5 (-115) Cowboys moneyline: -145
● Rams spread: +2.5 (-105) Rams moneyline: +125
● Over/Under: 52 (O -110, U -110)
Both teams have new coaches and systems to learn without preseason games to see where they stand. Dallas has the better defense and more firepower on offense so look for Prescott and Elliott to lead the Cowboys to a season-opening win.
Head to our favorite pay per head bookie site at RealBookies.com
Free Pick by Gameadvisers: Cowboys -2.5 (-115)
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