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For anyone who had doubts about Dallas’ position among the elite teams in the NFL



2007-09-28

For anyone who had doubts about Dallas’ position among the elite teams in the NFL, Sunday’s second half drubbing of the Bears should have removed that. Trying to keep their unbeaten mark intact, the Cowboys will host the injury-plagued Rams this week, accompanied by a rather large 13-point spread. This is just one of 13 games on today’s NFL boards. Follow the Live Odds page all day long for the best in Game Lines, Totals, and Player Props available.

Quarterback Tony Romo continued his dominance, throwing for 329 yards and two TD’s against the vaunted Bears’ defense. In all, he has his team off to a 3-0 SU & ATS start, and his team is leading the entire league in points scored, with 38.7 PPG. This week’s opponent, the downtrodden Rams, don’t figure to slow the pace either. What could pose a problem however, is the Cowboys performance as a big favorite, since they have lost their last three games SU & ATS when favored by a TD or more, all at home. Furthermore, in a game that figures to have a similar pointspread when released, the Rams upset Dallas, 20-10 as a 12-1/2 point dog to close the 2005 season. That said, the way St. Louis is going 20 points might be a stretch, having scored only 32 so far in its first three games.

St. Louis hears the beckoning call of the road again, after a weekend in Tampa and plays another NFC team this time down in Big D. Quarterback Marc Bulger, playing with a broken rib, is taking a pounding trying to work behind a makeshift offensive line that has been decimated by injuries. Three of the original five starters up front are out of the line-up, meaning Bulger is seeing -devil may care – blitzes from opposing teams, whose objective is to have the normally extremely accurate passer, rush this throws or sack him. "I probably held on to the ball too long in certain circumstances, but we definitely have some corrections to make," Bulger said. "The more you wait, that's where fumbles happen and sacks. Sacks really hurt on offense. They put you in second-and-long and third-and-long, and it's tough to overcome that." The Ram linemen understand they have to be more ameliorated. "I thought we had a little bit of trouble identifying things," center Brett Romberg said. "We struggled a little bit for the most part. I know Marc got pinged off a couple of times. I don't know who pinged him off, but we'll go back over the film and figure it out."

The biggest news affecting the Rams this week however, is the absence of super-star running back Steven Jackson, who could miss up to three weeks with a partially torn groin.
The Dallas offense has lit up the scoreboard early on, as Tony Romo has been doing a great job reading defenses and hitting his receivers in stride, adding more yards after the catch. Like former Dallas signal callers of the past, Romo has developed a distinctive chemistry with the tight end. Jason Witten is one the better tight ends in the NFL, and is providing a security blanket for Romo in tough situations or as exceptional third down receiver. Marion Barber might be taking over as the fulltime running back if he keeps producing like he has thus far. Barber is running with more aplomb and determination, hitting the holes quicker and with more authority than Julius Jones. Coach Wade Phillips has not been thrilled with the defensive line play to date and took a flyer on former Chicago Bear Tank Johnson. The Cowboys organization is convinced they have team to make a Super Bowl run and want to add the pieces that can make that dream come true.

Keys to the Game- Attacking Bulger will be the first priority for Dallas, to force the action which could lead to turnovers like it did against Miami in Week 2. What the Rams have to do to combat this pressure is pass on early downs, more in the five to seven yards range, mixing out-routes and slants. If successful, this makes Dallas defense hesitate just enough and opens possibilities for out and up throws later in the game. The Cowboys offensive line will test the manhood of the Rams front and come right at them. If they are finding success pounding away, look for Dallas to have 40 rush attempts and take 7-10 shots downfield. Jerry Jones crew is only 1-3 against the spread against St. Louis.

Key Trends
The Rams are 3-8 ATS in the second of consecutive road games.
The Rams are 10-18 ATS on the road playing a team with a winning record.
The Cowboys are 7-1 ATS off back to back road games.
The Cowboys are 2-6 ATS before a Monday night appearance.

StatFox Pick – Cowboys minus points


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