SoFi Stadium, Cowboys’ McCarthy make debuts in Rams opener

DALLAS (8-8) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (9-7)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT, NBC

OPENING LINE — Cowboys by 3

SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 18-17

LAST MEETING — Cowboys beat Rams 44-21 on Dec. 15, 2019 at Dallas

COWBOYS OFFENSE — OVERALL (1), RUSH (5), PASS (2)

COWBOYS DEFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (11), PASS (10)

RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (26), PASS (4)

RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (19), PASS (12)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — It’s the inaugural game at SoFi Stadium, the centerpiece of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s $5 billion arena development. The ultramodern new arena is frequently compared to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. … Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was an ardent supporter of Kroenke’s bid to bring the Rams home to Los Angeles. Jones’ Legends Hospitality also has lucrative service deals at SoFi whenever it can welcome fans. … Dallas routed Los Angeles 44-21 last December in a game that hastened Rams coach Sean McVay’s decision to rethink his defense in the offseason. The Rams beat the Cowboys in a playoff game one year earlier. … Debut game for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, the Super Bowl winner from Green Bay. He replaces Jason Garrett after nine seasons and two playoff victories. … Longtime Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel left McVay to join McCarthy in Dallas. Fassel was Rams’ last (interim) head coach before McVay, going 0-3 to close the 2016 season. … The Cowboys also signed longtime Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein in the offseason. … Mike Nolan makes his debut as Dallas defensive coordinator after four seasons as a linebackers coach. Nolan was the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach during the Northern California childhood of Rams QB Jared Goff, an ardent Niners fan at the time. … Dallas QB Dak Prescott begins his fifth year still waiting for that massive long-term contract, but his offense looks to be among the NFL’s most talented after he passed for a career-best 4,092 yards and 30 TDs in 2019. … NFL debut of WR CeeDee Lamb, a popular pick to be a breakout rookie after he somehow fell to Dallas with the 17th overall draft selection. … USC product DE Everson Griffen makes his Cowboys debut after signing with Dallas. He had at least eight sacks in six of his last eight years with Minnesota. … Dallas must begin the season without two key starters: RT La’El Collins and LB Sean Lee. … Debut game for McVay’s three new coordinators: Brandon Staley (defense), Kevin O’Connell (offense) and John Bonamego (special teams). … First-time coordinator Staley’s defense is expected to be a mix of Rams’ 3-4 setup under Wade Phillips and the recent schemes of Vic Fangio, Staley’s NFL mentor. … The Rams lost elite talent all across their roster and replaced almost none of it from outside the organization. Newcomer Leonard Floyd will attempt to fill pass rushing void left by LBs Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews. … The Rams’ first game since releasing Todd Gurley, who will be replaced with a mix of Malcolm Brown, rookie Cam Akers and perhaps Darrell Henderson, who had been injured in training camp. Gurley had at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in the Rams’ last five seasons. … Rams rookies Akers and WR Van Jefferson are likely to play extensively in their NFL debuts. … Goff returns after second straight 4,600-yard season, but with a career-high 16 interceptions. Prescott was chosen 134 picks after Goff in the 2016 draft. … DT Aaron Donald begins his seventh NFL season. He racked up 33 sacks over the past two years. … CB Jalen Ramsey can play with a clear head after agreeing to a five-year, $105 million contract extension Wednesday. … Fantasy tip: Rams TE Tyler Higbee finished last season on a five-game tear with 43 catches for 522 yards, and given the offseason departures of Gurley and WR Brandin Cooks, tight ends are likely to be prominent in McVay’s offense again this year.

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