(CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Rams are coming into the 202o season with something to prove. And the first week's opponent, the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams hit a disappointing 9-7 mark and missed the playoffs after their Super Bowl appearance in 2018. The Cowboys have had an 8-8 campaign in which, despite high expectations, they also missed the playoffs.
Both teams will try to get back on track with the start of the first week in Los Angeles. With the preseason canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, this will be the first in-game promotion of the season. And even that won't be quite what both teams are used to. Fans will not be present at the opening of SoFi Stadium, home of the Rams and Los Angles Chargers. The whistled fan noise won't obscure the fact that this isn't a typical game.
The Rams will try to recover and make some changes that they hope will bring them back to the playoffs. According to Bill Jones, sports anchor at CBS Dallas, “The Rams have had a disappointing year with many changes, not just on the field but also in terms of their coaching staff. Wade Phillips is no longer the defensive coordinator for Sean McVay. 37-year-old Brandon Staley is their new defensive coordinator. But they run a three-four defense like a Wade Phillips did. "
John Fassel has also been replaced by John Bonamego in the Special Team Coordinator. And John O'Connell has been hired as the offensive coordinator. In the field, the Rams return many key pieces. Jared Goff turned a strong season in terms of overtaking yards (4,638), though enough of that wasn't translated into points. A mileage similar to 2018 resulted in 10 fewer touchdowns than the previous year.
And that certainly wasn't enough to fill the void for a lackluster running game. The team averaged under four yards per carry. Todd Gurley has since joined the Atlanta Falcons, and rookie Cam Akers will carry the cargo with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. Your success will depend on one of the NFL's worst offensive lines, which is unlikely to be much better this season.
The Cowboys made some significant changes in the off-season. Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy now leads the team with a revamped coaching staff under him. Gone is the standout cornerback Byron Jones who signed a big deal with the Miami Dolphins. Also gone (again) is the future Hall of Fame ending Jason Witten, who is now with the Las Vegas Raiders.
McCarthy will still have plenty of guns on the offensive. Playing under the franchise label this year, Dak Prescott will try to prove his worth again as if last season's 30 touchdown show of 4,902 yards wasn't enough. An already stacked offense with Ezekiel Elliot and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup running back now welcomes Oklahoma rookie CeeDee Lamb. The key to continued success could still be McCarthy and Prescott's relationship.
According to Jones, “There is so much emphasis on the cowboys and their insult with their design by CeeDee Lamb, the broad first-round recipient, along with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. I think it's going to be a high score game. Jared Goff, like Carson Wentz, is entering his fifth year. In the same draft, of course, was Dak Prescott. He has a lot to prove this year to play on a Franchise Day. "
What that means in the field remains to be seen. But according to Jones, the start will be close. "I think the Cowboys will win the game," says Jones. "And I think there will be a late field goal from former Ram Greg Zuerlein, who is now with the Cowboys. I call it 34-31, Cowboys win at the new SoFi stadium in Los Angeles."