Both the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys are 2-1 heading into America’s game of the Week this Sunday. Dallas is coming off a 2016 season where Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm. They are just a few Cowboys to watch this Sunday.
DE Demarcus Lawrence
If you are unfamiliar with Lawrence as of right now, get ready. He’s primed to become the league’s next premier pass rusher and a household name. Lawrence already has 7.0 sacks in 2017, recording 3 of them on Monday night vs the Arizona Cardinals. Lawrence has battled injuries and suspensions early in his career but his talent has never been in question. He also lines up all over the defense so don’t assume he’ll be rushing strictly against Rob Havenstein.
QB Dak Prescott
Some wondered if Prescott would fade into the background and fall back to earth after his great 2016 season but he hasn’t really slowed down that much so far. He struggled against the Denver Broncos in week 2 but Denver has put clamps on far more experienced QBs before. Prescott has been sacked one more time than Jared Goff has been through 3 games so he’s not untouchable. The Rams will need to try and take away the short areas of the field and force him to make tougher throws.
TE Jason Witten
Witten is still playing at a high level at 35 years old and in his 15th NFL season. Early on in the Indianapolis and Washington games, the Rams LBs had issues covering TEs and Witten has 18 catches, 159 yards and 2 scores so far in 2017 with almost no speed to burn. He’s a savvy guy the Rams will need to keep out of the end zone and pay particular attention to on 3rd down passing situations.
LB Jaylon Smith
Regarded as a top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft class before suffering an ACL tear during his last college game, Smith is finally healthy and flashing that type of talent. He and Sean Lee are part of one of the better LB units in the NFC but Lee is battling his own injury issues this week. This could push Smith into a even more pivotal role for the Dallas defense. Seeing how he defends Todd Gurley out of the backfield as a receiver is something I’m really looking forward to see play out.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
The production just hasn’t been there for Elliott so far like it was in 2016. But make no mistake, Elliott could be a nightmare for the Rams run defense. Zeke had a terrible week 2 in Denver where many questioned his motivations but he still has one 100 yard rush game and is coming off an 80 yard, 1 TD performance against Arizona. With dominant offensive line talent and a Rams run defense that is allowing the 4th most rush yards and most rushing TDs in NFL, this is a scary matchup for the Rams on paper.