With the Dallas Cowboys coming fresh off of a bye and the Los Angeles Rams in need of a win after dropping a weird one to the Pittsburgh Steelers, these two teams will meet for a pivotal game for both sides. Let’s dig into some player props for this fascinating matchup, with offensive weapons like Matthew Stafford and CeeDee Lamb set to compete.
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With drastically different defenses on the two sides in this game, let’s see how some major contributors might shine or struggle this Sunday in Dallas.
Matthew Stafford Under 257.5 Passing Yards (-110)
This is a really tough bet, as Stafford is quietly playing some of the best football of his career, but this isn’t a situation where he’s going to be at his most prolific. While you could also argue that the injury issues in the Dallas secondary, most notably Trevon Diggs, make this a good spot for Stafford, this line of thinking misses, to a degree, what makes the Dallas pass defense- which ranks fourth in both EPA and DVOA against the pass- a special group.
That would be their front seven, which PFF considers to be the second-best pass rushing unit in the league. The transcendent Micah Parsons is of course the centerpiece, who has racked up five sacks and seven QB hits via a pass rush win rate of 22.1%, but DeMarcus Lawrence has actually topped him with a figure of 22.7%, and Chauncey Gholston’s number while playing on the interior is a very impressive 21.2%.
Stafford excels in a clean pocket but completes under 40% of his throws when pressured, so a good day from the Dallas pass rush against an LA o-line that has been mediocre at best in pass protection could lead to a tougher day for the veteran passer. The Rams might opt to lean on the run game, which ranks fourth in the league in success rate, and fifth in both EPA and DVOA.
They’ll be without lead back Kyren Williams, but rushing success is far more about line play, and as rough as they’ve been in the air game, they’re eighth in the league in adjusted line yards. Backup Royce Freeman has also been solid with limited carries, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and Darrell Henderson just returned too; the duo could have a nice day against a Dallas defense that surprisingly ranks 29th in success rate against the run.
This line is already moving down, which is a good sign for the concepts we’ll be digging into, but also a reminder to move as soon as possible to grab the best value, and check multiple sources to get yourself the best number.
CeeDee Lamb Over 65.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Lamb has gone over this number in half of his appearances as he’s averaging nearly 80 yards per game. This is a to how central he is to the Dallas offense; he’s the top option by a mile and a half, and any game in which the Cowboys have a good amount of success through the air, he’s going to be a massive beneficiary.
The Cowboys won’t likely be able to simply run this game away, with a rushing offense that ranks 17th in EPA and 25th in DVOA. Tony Pollard has been incredibly mediocre after a major breakout in 2022, he’s averaging under four yards per tote, and the Dallas offensive line, long a cornerstone of the team’s success, hasn’t done him too many favors.
The passing offense, however, ranks 7th in EPA, and while DVOA is a bit harsher due to the team’s strength of schedule thus far, or really the lack thereof, it’s not like the Rams pass defense is a major step up. They’re just about dead average by EPA and success rate, while DVOA dings them a bit for having played a weak schedule themselves. PFF considers the Los Angeles secondary to be the second worst in the NFL, saddling them with an almost impossibly low grade of 46.2, a few ticks below even the hapless Broncos unit.
Dak Prescott has quietly played some decent football this year, as he’s completed nearly 70% of his passes. He shouldn’t be particularly pressured by a Rams defense that ranks 24th in adjusted sack rate and 23rd in pressure rate, so he could be in for one of his better games thus far. This should be a close one, so the Cowboys won’t necessarily get to just run out the clock, and Lamb should be racking up targets all game long. At his season average of 14 yards per catch, it won’t take too many of those to hit the over for this relatively modest number.
Brandon Aubrey Under 2.5 Extra Points Made (-130)
Of course, this bet isn’t about Aubrey, it’s just a proxy for betting against the Cowboys to score more than two touchdowns against a Rams defense that has proven to be surprisingly plucky in some ways.
The LA defense has been disappointing in most ways, but they’re just about league average when it comes to red zone conversion rate, despite having played short-space juggernauts like Philly and San Francisco. They’re allowing touchdowns on a very respectable 54.55% of red zone trips, while the Cowboys are only scoring on 39.13% of such drives. That rate is good for 26th in the league, which is far from surprising for a team with a lethargic run game and only one clear red zone receiving target.
The Cowboys should be able to move the ball on a very shaky secondary, but when it comes to finishing drives off, it’s easy to imagine them being overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage by the likes of the legendary Aaron Donald and breakout performer Ernest Jones.