(CBSLA)- Thanks to a two game winning streak, the Los Angeles Rams are still within striking distance of a playoff spot heading into Week 15. The runners-up for last year’s Super Bowl, the Rams 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.
The first step in that plan is beating the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, on the road, at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are in peril of missing the playoffs themselves due 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.
It is that contrast in stakes for this weekend’s game that has CBS Dallas sports anchor 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.
“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.
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 1:25 p.m. PST.