Rams vs Cowboys

Rams vs Cowboys : The NFL Playoffs Will the Cowboys earn their way into the NFC title game for the first time in over 20 years? To do so, they’ll have to get past the No. 2 seed L.A. Rams on the road this Saturday night.

Which team will advance? The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their ‘gut feelings’ for the 7:15 p.m. (Central) divisional-round matchup at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum:

David Helman: Run the football, play good defense, and you can win a lot of games in this league. I know the Cowboys will do one of those things. Can they do the other one? It’s easy to fixate on the Rams’ struggles over the last month of the season, but this is still a unit that was among the best in the league for most of the season.

I don’t like the Cowboys’ chances if they allow more than 31 points, and the Rams are averaging 33 per game. Still, this feels like a favorable matchup. I’m calling for the Cowboys to run for 200 yards as a team, and if Dak Prescott can take care of the football, that gives them a heck of a chance to win the game. If the Dallas front seven can slow down Todd Gurley, I don’t trust Jared Goff to carry this thing on his own. In front of a crowd full of Cowboys fans, the Cowboys’ special teams will make a game-changing play, and Goff will make a costly mistake in crunch time. It all amounts to a nerve-wracking 30-28 Cowboys win — but a win all the same.

Bryan Broaddus: Not many folks around the nation giving the Cowboys much of a chance to win this game against the Rams. That’s okay because there are 46 guys who are going to dress for that game on Saturday who really don’t care what everyone thinks about them. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, this club has been playing meaningful games since that loss to Tennessee on the first Monday of November. It’s hard to pick against a quarterback that is playing with the confidence that Dak Prescott has right now. In two playoff games he has gone toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson all while living to tell about it. Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard come up with the right game plan while Prescott does his thing. Cowboys with a gutsy win, 27-20.

So predictions, bandied about by fans on online chat boards and by at least one ticket broker, that about 30 percent of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum crowd for Saturday’s NFC Divisional showdown between the Cowboys and Rams will be rooting for the visiting team sound most reasonable. And it could be more.

There are SoCal residents from all over the country, and all over the world, and there’s been a sizable Cowboys following in and around Los Angeles for decades. There are nearly a dozen bars in L.A., Orange County, the Inland Empire and Ventura County that are considered hangouts for Dallas supporters.

The Cowboys spent preseason training at Cal Lutheran for many years before moving its summer camp to Oxnard, a little more than 20 miles west along the Ventura Freeway.And Cowboys fans from Texas are revered for supporting their team around the country.

“Dallas is one of those franchises that travels really well,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said this week. “Obviously, them having [preseason] camp out in Oxnard, I think, helps. If they do have a good amount of fans [on Saturday], then we’re always ready to adjust and adapt.”But we’re hoping that the Rams fans come out and support us and give us that love and that support.”Brockers grew up in Houston before the Texans arrived.

“Unfortunately, yeah, I grew up a Cowboys fan in Houston,” he acknowledged. “No Oilers, so all they showed was Dallas games all the time. So I watched Emmett Smith and all those guys wreck the ’90s.”

He’s one of eight Texans on the Rams roster. Another is rookie defensive lineman Justin Lawler, a seventh-round draft pick out of SMU who grew up in Pottsboro, near the Oklahoma border.

“[Playing against the Cowboys] has always been something to look forward to, for sure,” he said. “After I got drafted, I was looking at the schedule. It was kind of disappointing that we weren’t playing them, but playing them in the divisional round makes it that much sweeter.”

“I grew up around the Dallas Cowboys, been around the Cowboys all my life …,” he said. “My whole family is really looking forward to the game. Everybody’s watching. I have a few people text me, ‘Go Cowboys, but I’m rooting for No. 53.’ I get plenty of that.

“I’ve got some family coming [from Texas for the game], and everybody in North Texas will be tuning in, rooting for the Rams, and some rooting for the Cowboys, and then some for me. We’ll love them either way.”

“They’re right behind me,” he said. “At first, they had to think about it, but they’re definitely supporting the Rams. They’ve got their Rams jerseys on, and it’ll be a good time.”

A 50/50 split seems unlikely — the Rams’ success the past two years had strengthened their hold on the bulk of locals — but 60/40 or 65/35 isn’t out of the question. And there might be as many here, perhaps more, who dislike the Cowboys than who cheer them on.

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