2020 Week 1 Analysis: Cowboys @ Rams (By Ross Jacobs)
Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. Typically, he will have written/submitted his work before mine, so this is a look at the same game with different eyes...and you can compare and contrast or find some new takeaways.
-Wow, what a great job by the Rams. They looked fantastic here and beat a team that is probably more all-round talented. The Cowboys didn't play their best here, but it was an absolute slugfest and they are still a very good team. They'll win the NFC East handily because the rest of the division is utter garbage. The Rams have a much tougher road to navigate to reach the playoffs.
-The Cowboys led 14-13 at the half, but they really had been outplayed most of the half. Both teams missed field goals, but the Rams miss was a fluky chip shot and the Cowboys was from 53 yards out. The Cowboys only managed to take the lead after driving down the field in their 2-minute offense. Other than that the Rams defense had shut them down very well.
-In the 2nd half the Rams again took the lead. Jared Goff was extremely sharp and just picked the Dallas defense apart. The Rams took a 20-14 lead and got the ball back, but Goff was hit on a play and the ball went straight to the Cowboys for an easy interception. The Cowboys capitalized on the short field and got another field goal to cut the lead to 3. Dallas got the ball back again and was driving but got stopped on 4th and 3. The Cowboys had one final chance at the end of the game, but Michael Gallup was called for a very iffy offensive pass interference penalty that sealed the win for the Rams. Both teams played well and had chances to win. Cowboys fans shouldn't panic. This team will be fine.
-As I said the Rams offense looked very good. They really exposed the Dallas linebackers here. I thought Jaylon Smith in particular looked terrible. He was constantly late to plays, getting beat in coverage, and only ever made tackles with help. With Leighton Vander Esch out for a time this could become a real liability for the Cowboys.
-Dallas didn't get much pressure on Goff here, but I think that was more because the Rams seem to have a very good offensive line again after their terrible 2019. Recent Dallas signee Aldon Smith has been out of football since 2015 after a promising start to his career, and shockingly he looked absolutely fantastic here. I was very impressed with his speed and technique. He honestly may have been the best defender on the field. Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence should form a devastating duo this season.
-The Cowboys offense was stifled here by a very good Rams group, but again I wouldn't worry. They moved the ball well. There's simply too many playmakers here for most teams to handle. Dak should always have an open target, and he's more than capable of finding the appropriate matchup.
-The Cowboys should easily make the playoffs this year as their division is a mess. The Rams will have a harder time of it, but I think they are perfectly capable of battling and beating the Cardinals and Seahawks. I wouldn't be surprised if it was LA and Arizona at the end.
-This Dallas offense is going to put up lots of yards and points again, but the correct way to play it for fantasy may be to take Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot and avoid the WR's. With three very good guys here I think Dak will be spreading the ball around, and it'll be a nightmare trying to pick which one goes off each week. I wouldn't be surprised if Elliot's yards ticked down just a bit too although he might make up for it in TD's.
-The Rams have several viable fantasy players, and you probably can't go wrong with any of them. Robert Woods looks like the 1a receiver, but Cooper Kupp is the 1b and will get plenty of targets too.
-Tyler Higbee had a quiet day, but I wouldn't worry. The Rams had him on the field. He'll have his days when teams try to clamp down on the two receivers.
-I'd sell high on Malcolm Brown if you have him. He played well and is obviously the lead back for now, but Brown isn't that great a player and I know the Rams want to get rookie Cam Akers more involved as the year goes on. Darrell Henderson is also lurking in the wings, and he's the best of the bunch.