Cowboys At Rams GAMEDAY: McCarthy's First Test

Dallas Cowboys At Los Angeles Rams GAMEDAY: NFL-Opener Is McCarthy's First Test
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The Dallas Cowboys scored a promising draft class, boast one of the NFL’s best offenses with a new defensive philosophy and are ready to show off a new coaching staff on the sideline with a Super Bowl resume. 

The 2020 NFL season expectations are high and Dallas' first game is a pivotal one. For the first time in a decade, the Cowboys won’t have Jason Garrett on the sidelines. Will Mike McCarthy win his first game as a Cowboy? 

READ MORE: McCarthy's Cowboys Begin '20-Game Plan' For NFL Season

Here is what you need to know. ...

THE STADIUM: A four-year wait ends ends as the Rams new $5-plus billion home makes its debut. SoFi Stadium will open without fans in attendance. 

CHANGES OF NOTE:  Playing football in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social protests will look a little different than you may be used to. Some of the changes:

  • No out-of-town training camp
  • A televised “scrimmage” featuring players with no uniform numbers.
  • No preseason games.
  • No fans, cheerleaders or mascots.
  • Players kneeling in protest of police brutality and racial inequality during the national anthem.
  • Coaches and referees wearing masks.
  • Players drinking exclusively from their own designated water bottles.
  • Referees button-pushing electronic “whistles.”
  • One-player representation for the coin toss.
  • No post-game handshakes.

COWBOYS WIN IF: Tempo, tempo, tempo. The Cowboys training camp has been fast and furious. 

Can Dak Prescott and company out-tempo the Rams in Week 1? The pool of talented players on the Dallas offense is an on-paper nightmare. Putting LA on their heels quickly can lead to a Dallas victory. McCarthy's "feed Zeke" mentality paired with possibly the best wide receiving trio in the league must be on full go against Aaron Donald and the Rams defense.

COWBOYS LOSE IF: The Dallas secondary cannot keep up with Rams quarterback Jared Goff. 

Heading into their first year without the departed All-Pro Byron Jones, the Cowboys have a handful of unproven players in the secondary and a first-year defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan. 

Vying for the first win their new stadium ... against a Dallas secondary with some questions ... Goff has the potential for a huge performance.

QUOTABLE: "This is probably the most talented team I've been on," Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said. "Just look at the depth chart, look at the roster, look at how many Pro Bowlers, how many All-Pro guys we have out there.''

ODDS: Dallas is a 3-point favorite and the over/under is 51.5 points.

FUN FACT: The Dallas Cowboys will commemorate the club's 60th year anniversary this year and will wear a special uniform patch. 

INJURY UPDATE: Assuming the air quality allows (see Fish's scoop here), the Cowboys will use Cam Erving at right tackle in place of La'el Collins (three-week IR).

READ MORE: Cowboys Say Amari, Awuzie & Xavier 'Full Capacity' For Rams

Receiver Amari Cooper (hamstring) has been declared a full-go. DBs Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie are also both ready, though rookie Trevon Diggs is in play to participate at corner along with Chido.

Game Time: Sunday, September 13, 7:20 p.m. CT

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

TV/Radio: NBC, 105.3 The Fan

Records: Cowboys (0-0 in 2020) 8-8 last season, Rams (0-0 in 2020) 9-7 last season.

THE FINAL WORD: "I seize the moment. I focus on the now. I think it's very important for me to do exactly that and not to be distracted or put too much focus anywhere other than what it is that I'm doing now." - Dak Prescott.