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Cowboys, Rams both seek long-awaited NFC championship game return


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff appears for a receiver downfield. (Kelvin Kuo/AP)

Dallas gave the impression of a possible juggernaut remaining week in a 24-22 win over Seattle, with an elite run recreation that chugged for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 137 of the ones yards on 26 carries and simply the specter of Elliott helped arrange each different side of the Cowboys’ offense. Imagine: In video games the place Elliott rushed for no less than 100 yards this season, Dallas is now 7-1, with seven directly wins.

The emergence of Amari Cooper, received by way of midseason business, is helping the Cowboys keep balanced and offers quarterback Dak Prescott the downfield possibility he’s wanted. Prescott threw for 226 yards, a landing and an interception on 22-of-33 passing towards Seattle.

Los Angeles’s offense most probably gained’t battle to maintain. The Rams are 2nd within the NFL in scoring, averaging 32.nine issues in line with recreation. Tailback Todd Gurley is averaging 89.four speeding yards and 41.four receiving yards in line with recreation, however he sat out the remaining two video games of the common season to leisure a sore knee. He’ll go back to the lineup along quarterback Jared Goff, who’s finishing 64.nine % of his passes for 32 touchdowns and four,688 yards in Trainer Sean McVay’s flashy offense.

The Rams’ protection, particularly the entrance 3 of Michael Brockers, Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald, may end up a distinction maker. Whilst the Cowboys attempt to run the ball with Elliott, the ones linemen, with 10 Professional Bowl appearances between them, might be Los Angeles’s first defensive line. Linebackers Cory Littleton, Mark Barron and Samson Ebukam have additionally had standout years.

The groups didn’t play this season, however met in Dallas in October of 2017. The Cowboys had a 24-13 lead overdue within the first part, however the Rams scored on 5 consecutive possessions in the second one part and gained, 35-30.

The Rams haven’t reached an NFC identify recreation for the reason that 2001 season. The Cowboys have waited even longer, for the reason that 1995 season.

When: Saturday, eight:15 p.m. Japanese.

The place: Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles.

The best way to watch on TV: Fox.

The best way to flow on-line: FOXSportsGo app.

Odds: Rams -7.

What’s subsequent: The winner advances to the NFC championship recreation on Jan. 20. The winner of this recreation would host the NFC identify recreation if the Eagles dissatisfied the Saints on Sunday. Another way, the winner of this recreation would trip to New Orleans. The Rams misplaced to each the Saints (at the street) and Eagles (at house) this season. The Cowboys beat the Saints at house and crowned the Eagles two times.


Ezekiel Elliott will lead the Cowboys’ speeding assault. (Shane Roper/USA TODAY Sports activities)

Matchup to observe: Rams’ play-action passing recreation vs. Cowboys linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith

That is the largest power as opposed to power matchup of all of the weekend. Goff led the NFL with 1,971 yards off play motion this season, because the Rams hired it extra steadily than some other workforce within the league. On the ones performs, he averaged 10.zero yards in line with try and had a 112.three passer ranking. For probably the most phase, alternatively, play-action exists to assault the realm vacated by means of linebackers who’re drawn ahead by means of the run pretend, and no workforce within the NFL has linebackers who can duvet extra flooring than the Cowboys.

Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith completed the common season as Professional Soccer Center of attention’s fifth- and 6th highest-graded linebackers, respectively. Opposing offenses handiest received 1,029 yards off play-action towards the Cowboys this season, the eighth-lowest overall within the NFL. Smith and Vander Esch mixed to permit 16 overall catches of their protection this season off play-action, with handiest seven going for first downs. That type of stinginess might be essential to stay the Cowboys on this one. Mike Renner, Professional Soccer Center of attention

Learn extra at the NFL playoffs:

The NFL linebacker has been devalued. Leighton Vander Esch is right here to modify that.

‘We were given it carried out!’: The interior tale of the way Patrick Mahomes landed with the Chiefs

What’s the name of the game to Nick Foles’s magic? The play of the Eagles protection.

Westlake Top produced two Tremendous Bowl MVPs. On Sunday, they’ll meet within the NFL playoffs.

‘Regardless of the place I’m, I nonetheless consider her’: A grieving father plans to play towards the Patriots

Philip Rivers is operating out of time, making this week’s alternative that a lot larger

John Clayton: The four largest questions heading into the NFL playoffs’ divisional around

NFL playoffs ATS selections: House favorites will have to battle to hide in divisional matchups

Those one-on-one matchups may come to a decision the NFL’s divisional-round video games

Cowboys-Seahawks takeaways: Dallas is official on either side of the road

The Saints and Rams had been the large winners on wild-card weekend

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