Week 4 Preview, St. Louis at Dallas

St. Louis RamsDallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have the opportunity to go 4-0 for the second time since Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith played for them. The St. Louis Rams are simply looking to get their first win of the season. Obviously a benchmark will be set this Sunday as the Cowboys face the visiting Rams. You have two teams here who are polar opposites of each other.

The Cowboys, thanks in no small part to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, are second in the NFL in total yardage (1,261) and lead the league in total points scored (116). Quarterback Tony Romo (51-for-88, 860 yards, 8 TD’s, 2 INT’s) leads this talented group on offense, with solid contributions from wide receiver Terrell Owens (16-329-3 TD’s), tight end Jason Witten (14-233-2 TD’s) and RB Marion Barber III (40-256-4 TD’s). The defense is allowing fewer points on a weekly basis; after they gave up 35 to the New York Giants in Week 1, they have progressively allowed fewer points (35, then 25, then 10). The player who is poised to have a breakout season is linebacker Anthony Spencer; he leads the team in interceptions (4) and a sack.

The Rams, in contrast, have some issues to resolve. Especially at running back. Starter Steven Jackson will be out this week and maybe longer with a partial tear of his groin area. His replacement for the short-term is rookie Brian Leonard. Not to be overlooked are injuries to offensive tackle Orlando Pace (shoulder, out for season), guard Mark Setterstrom (knee, also lost for the season) and probably the most unsettling to date – QB Marc Bulger. Bulger (2 broken ribs) was ineffective against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17-for-26, 116 yards, 3 INT’s); the numbers may be a reflection of the team’s deference to Bulger’s injury and adjusting the playbook accordingly.

The Rams only have a chance at victory if Bulger can somehow pick apart the Cowboys’ secondary and at the same time neutralize Romo. The Cowboys I would expect to utilize the running game to their advantage and mix in the passing attack depending on the matchups on defense. The Cowboys offense will overwhelm the Rams this week unfortunately in what should be an easy victory for Dallas.

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