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The Los Angeles Rams are back in the playoffs again this season, but they’re likely feeling a little more ready than they did last year.

Last season, the Rams won the NFC West division and entered the uncharted territory of the playoffs. The team hadn’t made the playoffs since 2004, and only six players on the team had postseason experience. The team had both a young quarterback and head coach, neither of which had playoff experience. Despite a promising season, they lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card round.

This year, the Rams are in the playoffs again, but now they have last season’s playoff experience under their belt. Plus, they earned a first-round bye, which gave them more time to prepare for their game against Dallas on Saturday.

How the Rams Are Preparing

Thanks to last season’s playoff experience, the Rams now have a better feel for what it’s like to be in a playoff game. They won’t be as wide-eyed as they were last season. The Rams also learned some valuable lessons through last year’s loss to Atlanta. They now know each play means more in the playoffs. You can’t afford penalties and turnovers. The Rams had three missed red zone touchdown chances, five penalties, and two turnovers last year against the Falcons. The team is sure to be careful to avoid those mistakes in this postseason. After last season, the Rams also added a few players with more experience, including cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, who both have playoff experience.

The Rams took their bye week to prepare for their playoff game. It gave a chance for the team’s players to recover from injuries. Running back Todd Gurley missed the last two regular-season games due to a knee injury, and safety Lamarcus Joyner missed Week 17 with an ankle injury. Both players are expected to be back for Saturday’s playoff game against the Cowboys. The offensive line should also benefit from a week off which is great news for the entire offense.

How Los Angeles Is Preparing

After more than two decades without an NFL team, LA now has two teams — the Rams and the Chargers — both of which are in the playoffs this season. The Chargers beat the Ravens 23-17 Sunday and will play the Patriots in New England on Jan. 13.

This weekend, playoff football is back in LA. The city has to prepare for increased traffic, lots of excited fans and heightened security needs surrounding the stadium. LA knows how to increase security, and has hosted several huge sports championships even in the last 10 years. The city is certainly working hard to get ready for next weekend to make sure everyone can enjoy the games safely. There are a lot of entertainment options in Los Angeles, but this weekend the main spotlight is on the Rams.

Rams vs. Cowboys Preview

After the Eagles beat the Bears this past Sunday in the NFC wild-card game, the Rams found out who they’ll be playing on Saturday. The Dallas Cowboys will be traveling to LA to face the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Cowboys won the NFC East and finished 10-6. The Rams haven’t played the Cowboys this season but beat them in 2017 35-30. The Rams have the better record, but the Cowboys are on a hot streak and could prove to be dangerous. The Rams losses have come at the end of the season, while the Cowboys had a rough start before going on a roll. LA has the higher-scoring offense, while Dallas’ defense is its most formidable weapon. Having Gurley and Joyner will certainly help the Rams, and the extra time to prepare thanks to the bye likely will too.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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