(CBSDFW.com)- The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in peril of missing the playoffs thanks to their three game losing skid. With a record of 6-7, their season essentially comes down to next week’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Cowboys win that game, they win the NFC East. If they lose, they’re likely to miss the postseason assuming the Eagles beat the Redskins and Giants.
But, before that crucial game next week, the Cowboys welcome the Los Angeles Rams to AT&T Stadium. The runners-up for last year’s Super Bowl, the Rams are in trouble of missing the playoffs too. They beat the Seahawks on Sunday night 28-12 to improve to 8-5, but still trail the Minnesota Vikings for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. They likely need to win all three of their final games, along with getting help from others in order to make the playoffs.
It is that contrast in stakes for this game that has CBS 11’s Keith Russell believing that Jason Garrett’s crew doesn’t have much of a chance this weekend.
“No chance. Chance to make some noise in the posteason, but no chance against the Rams. As crazy as it seems, the Rams, who were in the Super Bowl just last season, they’re on the outside looking in of the playoffs right now,” said Russell. “They’re one game behind Minnesota. So, they need this game more than Dallas needs this game.”
Another factor in the Rams favor is they have simply been playing better football as of late. Since the embarrassing 45-6 loss to the Ravens two weeks ago, the Rams have beaten the Cardinals and Seahawks and allowed a total of 19 points. The defense, which was shredded by Jackson, actually ranks in the Top 10 of Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency metrics. For a Cowboys offense that has suddenly struggled to muster points, that is a foreboding sign.
One shining hope for Dallas does remain in that regard. Jackson and the Ravens were able to dominate on the ground, racking up 285 yards on 48 carries. That would seem to provide an opportunity for Ezekiel Elliott to eat.
But, as Russell points out, the Rams offense has found its rhythm in the last several weeks piling up nearly 1,000 yards and scoring 62 points across the two games. Quarterback Jared Goff has his full complement of weapons back healthy and tight end Tyler Higbee has emerged as a big-play machine. Combined with a return to form from Todd Gurley, Russell believes the Rams just have too much going for them to lose this week’s matchup. Still, even in defeat, Russell sees a bright future for the ‘Boys.
“The Rams are hot. Todd Gurley is starting to be utilized the way he should be. I think they roll into AT&T Stadium, they dust off the Cowboys,” said Russell. “But, even though the Cowboys will be a game behind the Eagles in the NFC East, all they will have to do is go to Philly on December 22nd, beat the Eagles. They will have swept Philly and they’ll be back in first place in the NFC East. Rams need it more, the Cowboys will win in Philly, Cowboys will go down however this Sunday.”
The Rams enter the matchup as 1.5 point favorites despite being on the road meaning oddsmakers agree with Russell’s assessment. Kickoff for Sunday’s game is slated for 3:25 p.m. CST.