While the passing attack is usually the deciding factor in most NFL games, the running backs will play a major role in Saturday night’s playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. An argument can be made that Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley are the two best running backs in the NFL.

Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards in the 2018 season, doing so for the second time in his three-year career. Gurley was the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and he was in the 2018 MVP discussion until an injury derailed him in the final quarter of the season.

After rushing for just 28 yards in the Rams’ loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 14, Gurley was limited in practice with a knee injury before the team’s Week 15 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. The running back was held to 48 yards in the loss, and Los Angeles shut him down for the remainder of the regular season.

Because of the Rams’ first-round bye, Gurley has had three weeks to rest up. He’s off the injury report and ready to go in the divisional playoffs against Dallas.

“He's just a great football player,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told reporters, regarding Gurley, this week. “He has everything you want in a running back, he's quick, he's fast, he's explosive, he's strong. Great instincts for the game, great feel for the game. Outstanding vision.

“He can beat you with speed, he can beat you with power, he can beat you cutting back. He can beat you when they hand him the ball, he can beat you when they throw him the ball. He's great run after the catch. Plays with a competitive spirit. He's just a fantastic player.”

Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys Rams Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Los Angeles has one of the best offensive lines in football, and Gurley’s replacements had plenty of success in his absence. Dallas’ defense will have its hands full, though the unit did just stifle the Seattle Seahawks' league-leading rushing attack in the wild-card round. The Cowboys were one of six teams that allowed fewer than four yards per carry in the regular season.

The Rams, on the other hand, ranked dead last in the NFL, allowing a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. That’s certainly not great news for their chances of stopping Elliott, who was terrific in the second half of the year.

Elliott ran for 137 yards against a good Seattle defense last week. He’s averaging 111.4 yards per game over the last eight weeks.

The Cowboys have just one loss since Week 9 in large part because of their defense and the way Dak Prescott has played late in games, but Elliott is always a significant part of Dallas’ winning formula. Elliott was held to 87 rushing yards in the team’s only loss during that stretch. He averages 4.9 yards per carry in wins and 4.3 yards per carry in losses.

L.A. surrendered 446 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in their three losses.