By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Rams
Sunday – September 21 – 12:00pm
Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
QB Austin Davis – After Bradford went down, it was Shaun Hill’s team, and halfway through a blowout loss to the Vikings on opening weekend, it was Austin Davis’ shot to lead the Rams. And he hasn’t been bad at all. Davis is completing 73 percent of his passes, and in some ways, outperforming Tony Romo, with Romo’s completion percentage at 63. But Davis is still a young gun, and with the right balance of quarterback pressure and if the Cowboys can contain running back Zac Stacy, Davis could be in for a long day.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
LB Bruce Carter – With Rolando McClain mopping up most of the tackles, Bruce Carter is now free to be a playmaker. He’s shown that he’s got a knack for getting after punts, and he has one of the team’s three sacks and that’s where he needs to shine on. When there’s an opportunity for Carter to make a play, he needs to make it, sounds obvious but he didn’t make them last season, and if this defense is going to keep the Cowboys in games like they did against the Titans, players are going to have to make plays. And an improvement on coverage of the tight ends wouldn’t hurt.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Rams pass rush – Just because Chris Long is down does not mean the Rams aren’t any less dangerous at getting after the quarterback. Robert Quinn is an absolute nightmare coming off the edge, and if it’s him versus Doug Free all game long, then Jason Witten or maybe James Hanna will have to stay back and help keep Quinn off Romo. On the inside, a three man rotation including two first round picks will each get cracks at teeing off on Tony Romo. Michael Brockers is a giant, Aaron Donald was on the short list of who the Cowboys would have love to have drafted, because of his interior pressure that he can explode into, and Kendall Langford is a great mix of both Donald and Brockers. The Rams only have one quarterback sack on the young season, but the Cowboys have given up seven in two games.
Which group will give the Rams fits?
The Cowboys running game – But what the Rams have in pass rush, they truly lack in run stopping. The Rams are 29th in the league in rush defense, giving up an average of 171 yards in their first two games, and that’s more than a crack to exploit, that’s a leaking faucet. DeMarco Murray is absolutely crushing it through the first two games, with 5.6 yards per carry and the offense’s desire to crush the ball. He’s had a fumble early in both of his first two games, but those have been the only hiccups in those games, on his end anyways. This offensive line has moved players extremely well, probably better than previously thought, but the amazing part of the equation was a commitment to the run, because late in Tennessee, both teams knew the Cowboys were going to run, and that’s what the Cowboys did.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Feed the Beast. DeMarco Murray, apparently, has something to prove to the St. Louis Rams, because in the two games he’s had games of 253 yards and 175 yards, and let’s all hope that there is something to the Rams for DeMarco, because that surely will lead to a victory.
Prediction: Dallas 27 – St. Louis 12. I’m guessing that both quarterbacks have forgettable games, but both help gain chunks of yards, but I say that the Cowboys defense keeps the end zone clean of Rams, but won’t keep Zuerlein from kicking field goals.