Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) hands off to running back DeMarco Murray (29) during the first half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Key Matchups to Watch against the Rams

After a sloppy loss against the Chiefs, the Cowboys will face off against the St Louis Rams this Sunday. The Rams are a fearsome young team in a tough NFC West division. They are looking to get any wins they can get, and if the Cowboys don’t watch out, they could be victim to this budding dangerous team.  The Rams will be especially hungry after a close game last week against the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys don’t want to fall to a losing record, and this game will be a crucial one for them. The NFC East is always a close match, so it is important that the Cowboys can get any win that they can.

Tyron Smith and Doug Free vs. Chris Long and Robert Quinn

Aug 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick (70) guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (73) and tackle Tyron Smith (77) provide protection for quarterback Tony Romo (9) in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT

The St. Louis Rams have some tremendous defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. As we all know, the key to the Cowboys is protecting Romo. This is a key matchup for the game, and if the Cowboys wish to succeed, they need their offensive tackles to do well against the Rams. This is also a great game to evaluate Doug Free. He is not guaranteed a roster spot next year, and if he performs well this game, it’ll give the Cowboys coach a reason to keep him for one more year.

Demarcus Ware vs. Jake Long

The key to defense is getting pressure on the quarterback. Demarcus Ware will be the key to pressuring Sam Bradford, but he’ll face a tough obstacle in Jake Long. Long was a former All-Pro left tackle, but fell off in recent years. He still is a top ten offensive tackle, and will be a formidable opponent for Ware. Ware had a strong against the Chiefs last week, notching two sacks on Alex Smith. Hopefully Ware can improve from that game and wreck havoc against the Rams.

Demarco Murray vs. James Laurinaitis

I’m sure we all remember what happened the last time Murray faced off against the Rams. If you don’t, let me give you a refresher. In Demarco Murray’s rookie year, he dominated against the Rams running for 253 yards, 10.1 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown. The Rams have improved their run defense since then, so don’t expect Murray to replicate those numbers. It should be a lot tougher for him to run against the Rams this time, especially since James Laurinaitis commands the middle of that defense. Laurinaitis does everything well, and it should be a fun matchup against Murray, who can do a bit of everything as a runningback.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray DeMarcus Ware Doug Free St. Louis Rams Tyron Smith

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