The Los Angeles Rams will face the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL divisional playoff game Saturday evening at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, seeking their first postseason victory since the 2004 season.
The Rams were 26-13 losers to the Atlanta Falcons in a wild-card game last season at the Coliseum, their first postseason appearance since that 2004 season.
The Cowboys will also try to end some recent postseason futility. They have lost five consecutive divisional playoff games dating back to the 1996 season. Their last victory in the round was in the 1995 season when they won their most recent Super Bowl.
Dallas has also lost seven consecutive road playoff games, dating back to the 1996 season. Its last road playoff victory was in the 1992 season, when it defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park.
The Rams were 13-3 in the regular season, winning their second consecutive NFC West title and receiving a first-round bye as the NFC’s No. 2 seed. Dallas was 10-6, winning the NFC East. The Cowboys defeated the fifth-seeded Seattle Seahawks, 24-22, in a wild-card game last Saturday.
This is the ninth time the Rams and Cowboys have met in the playoffs, with each team winning four times. The most recent meeting was a divisional playoff game in the 1985 season, won by the Rams 20-0 at the then-Anaheim Stadium.
The Rams will have a key offensive weapon back — running back Todd Gurley, who did not play in the final two regular-season games because of a knee injury sustained in a 30-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 16.
“He looks like the explosive, great back that we’re accustomed to seeing,” Rams coach Sean McVay said when asked how Gurley has looked in practice. “He’s feeling good. He’s had a great week of preparation and we’re expecting him to be ready to go.”
The game matches a Rams offense that was second in the league in scoring, averaging 32.9 points per game, and second in yards per game, averaging 421.2, against a Dallas defense that was sixth in the league in points allowed per game, 20.3, and seventh in yards per game, allowing 329.3.
The only player on the Rams injury report is reserve defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks, who is questionable with a thigh injury.
“We feel like he’ll be able to go,” McVay said.
Dallas defensive lineman David Irving, who has played in two games this season, most recently on Oct. 21, will miss the game because of an ankle injury.
Five Cowboys are listed as questionable, but only one, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, has started a majority of the team’s games. Also listed as questionable are receiver Cole Beasley, tight end Blake Jarwin, guard Xavier Su’a-Filo and safety Darian Thompson.
This is the third official head coaching matchup between the McVay and Garrett families. McVay coached the Rams to a 35-30 victory over Jason Garrett and the Cowboys on Oct. 1, 2017.
McVay’s grandfather, John McVay, coached the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League to a 45-0 victory over the Houston Texans, who were coached by Jim Garrett, Jason’s father, on Sept. 7, 1974.
The winner will face the winner of Sunday’s game between the top-seeded New Orleans Saints and sixth-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship on Jan. 20. New Orleans would play host to either the Rams or Dallas, while the Rams or Cowboys would be the home team against the Eagles.
Fans are encouraged to enter the Coliseum at 4:15 p.m., 60 minutes before the opening kickoff. To encourage fans to rally together as “One House,” fans will receive a “One House. One Dream” rally towel upon entering the stadium.
For the first time, the Rams will ask fans in attendance to move the needle of the stadium noise meter on the video boards to initiate the lighting of the Coliseum Torch. Fans will be encouraged to generate noise as a sound meter will be displayed on the stadium video boards. Once the Coliseum has reached maximum-noise capacity, the lighting of the torch will take place.
Pro Football Hall of Fame members and former Rams Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace and Jackie Slater will join the team captains at midfield to participate in the coin toss.
Faulk, Holt, Pace and their teammates on the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV-winning team, D’Marco Farr and Torry Holt, will be recognized on the field. Isaac Bruce, a 2019 Hall of Fame finalist who led the team in receiving yards and touchdown receptions, will be honored in the southeast end zone.
Grammy-nominated rapper French Montana will perform at halftime. His performance will be live-streamed on the Rams’ website, therams.com, on their Twitter account, @RamsNFL, and their Facebook page, @Rams.
Perry Yee, a Navy SEAL who fought in Afghanistan, will be honored during the first quarter. Following his discharge, Yee founded the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Active Valor, which pairs veterans with children who have lost a parent due to combat overseas or to post-traumatic stress disorder-related suicide while on active duty.