The Rams’ first home playoff game in their return to Los Angeles didn’t go well. The NFC’s No. 2 seed looks for better results in the Divisional Round on Saturday night vs. No. 4 Dallas.
The Rams won the NFC West by three games over the Seattle Seahawks and were the first team to clinch a division title this season. It might have affected their focus a bit down the stretch with a two-game losing streak, but L.A. closed the season with back-to-back easy wins.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Last year, L.A. also won the NFC West but had to play on Wild-Card Weekend and was upset at home by the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams have also lost their past two Divisional Round games but those were both more than a decade ago while the team was still in St. Louis. The Rams’ last trip to the NFC title game was in 2001 when Kurt Warner & Co. beat the Philadelphia Eagles but were upset by some relatively unknown quarterback named Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Dallas is in the Divisional Round for the first time since following the 2016 season. They were the NFC’s top seed then but upset by Green Bay 34-31. The Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game away from home since Super Bowl XXX vs. Pittsburgh. Their last true road playoff win was Jan. 17, 1993, in San Francisco.
Dallas was a 2.5-point favourite last Saturday vs. Seattle and beat the Seahawks 24-22. We wrote that the team with the most rushing yards likely would win, and the Cowboys won that statistic handily 164-73. Ezekiel Elliott had 137 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Dak Prescott threw for 226 yards and a score and also rushed for a TD. A loss might have cost Coach Jason Garrett his job.
The Cowboys could host the NFC title game if they win and the Eagles win in New Orleans on Sunday. Dallas hasn’t been to the conference championship game since winning that last Super Bowl vs. the Steelers.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had the league’s No. 1 offence in 2017 at 29.9 points per game, and that group jumped to 32.9 points this season but finished a distant second to AFC No. 1 seed Kansas City – a team the Rams beat in game for the ages, 54-51, on a Monday night in Week 11. Star running back Todd Gurley was an MVP candidate and led the NFL in touchdowns with 21 touchdowns but missed the final two weeks with inflammation in his left knee.
QB Jared Goff was also in the MVP conversation but had a few very shaky games in the final month. No shot that Gurley misses this game. L.A.’s defence showed some holes at times this year despite having the lock repeat Defensive Player of the Year winner in Aaron Donald. He led the NFL with 20.5 sacks, an NFL record for a tackle.