In a rematch of a playoff matchup from last season, both teams continue to push to get back to the playoffs in Week 15 as the Dallas Cowboys host the Los Angeles Rams. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 EST on Sunday, December 15 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A vast majority of the country will be able to watch the game on Fox.
Current odds have the Rams favored by 1.5 points on the road with an over/under of 49 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 15 NFL betting odds.
Dallas is in the middle of an unmitigated disaster. The Cowboys went from 6-4 and the top spot in the NFC East to 6-7 and a tie with the Eagles. They have lost four of their last five with owner Jerry Jones married to his position of not firing head coach Jason Garrett midseason despite a three-game losing streak.
The silver lining is that the Cowboys are still in good shape to win the division and host a playoff game. They will play two of their final three games at home, including a Week 17 date with the lowly Redskins. Sandwiched in-between is a road game against the Eagles, who broke their losing streak on Monday. However, Garrett is more or less a lame-duck coach at this point and the Cowboys probably can’t afford to see their three-game losing streak extend to four games before heading to Philadelphia next weekend.
Meanwhile, the reigning NFC champion Rams are just hoping to get back to the playoffs. If the playoffs started today, they could be left out in the cold. The good news for Los Angeles is that they have turned things up a notch with five wins in their last seven games. Most of those wins have come against lesser teams, but a 28-12 win over the Seahawks last week was a sign that the Rams are still in the race.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they are still a game back of the Vikings for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. While Los Angeles currently holds the tiebreaker with Minnesota, the Rams need to win at least one more game than the Vikings over the final three weeks of the season. They also face road games against the Cowboys and 49ers the next two weeks before facing the unpredictable Cardinals at home the final week of the season. In other words, this week’s game isn’t one the Rams can afford to lose if they hope to make the playoffs.
I think I’m ready to call it quits on the Cowboys. There’s a small part of me that still thinks they have a chance to turn things around. But I wouldn’t bet money on it. Dallas is just 3-3 at home this year, with two of those wins coming early in the season against the Dolphins and Giants. The Rams, on the other hand, are playing well late in the year and should be brimming with confidence after last week’s win. The spread is small, so I’ll trust the Rams to cover as road favorites.
I’ll admit that this is not the same L.A. offense that rampaged through the NFL for most of 2018. But I think they could look like the same old Rams against the Dallas defense this week. The Cowboys gave up over 240 passing yards and three touchdowns against Mitchell Trubisky last week. Despite forcing two turnovers, they still allowed the Bears to rush for over 150 yards and score 31 points against them. Even if there’s modest improvement with the Cowboys playing at home this week, I don’t have high hopes for the Dallas defense in this game.
The Rams might actually be finding their stride offensively late in the season. Todd Gurley has rushed for over 70 yards in four of his last five games, including two games with over 90 yards. Jared Goff has also thrown for over 700 yards combined in his last two games. More importantly, he’s tossed four touchdown passes over those two games after three straight games without a touchdown pass. Turnovers remain an issue with him, but the Rams can overcome a few mistakes if they can get back some of the explosiveness they had last season.
If the Cowboys can’t win with their defense, it’ll be up to the Dallas offense to compensate. However, things have been a little up and down for the Cowboys on that side of the ball in recent weeks. Dak Prescott has been under 60% on his completion percentage in two of the last three weeks. He’s also been sacked six times over the last two weeks, which is a new problem that wasn’t there earlier in the year. Meanwhile, the Rams are coming on strong defensively late in the year. The L.A. defense didn’t allow an offensive touchdown last week against the Seahawks. They’ve also limited their opponents to 20 points or less in seven of their last eight games.
Ultimately, in a game that’s virtually a tossup, it makes more sense to lean toward the team that has played well recently rather than the team nursing a three-game losing streak. I’ll admit the Cowboys are capable of winning this game and breaking out of their slump. But I’m not willing to take that chance, especially with how well the Rams have played in recent weeks. Even if it’s a close game, I think the Rams will find a way to pull out the win.