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Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Rams: Watch Live Stream Online for Free; Preview

By Melissa Siegel, Posted: 08/25/12 06:25PM EDT

The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams will do battle tonight in week three of the NFL preseason. The game will be broadcast locally at 8 p.m. ET, and you can also watch a live stream online for free here.

The Rams are looking to improve upon an offense that struggled mightily last season, particularly in the passing game. Quarterback Sam Bradford missed six games with injuries, and even when he was healthy he did not have any top receivers to throw the ball too. The Rams averaged just 179.4 passing yards per game last year, third-worst in the league.

Bradford is now fully recovered, but the receiver position is still an issue. Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson were originally the favorites for the starting jobs, but Gibson has been battling a hamstring issue for much of training camp.

He finally returned to the practice field this week and seemed to re-develop the chemistry he once had with Bradford. The two connected 53 times in 2010, Bradford's first year in the league. However, while he was injured he was overtaken by (the other) Steve Smith for the starting job opposite Amendola.

Smith was famously signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 even though his former employer, the New York Giants, felt he was not yet healthy enough to play. Smith suffered a serious knee injury late in the 2010 season. Last season he had just 11 receptions despite appearing in nine games. But this year he has impressed the coaches, and he can officially lock down the starting job with a good performance tonight.

Now Gibson will likely be fighting to stay on the roster at all, as young rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens are locks to make the final cut. Both will also reportedly see time with Bradford and the other offensive starters tonight.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, will be a shell of their playoff-contending selves tonight, with many of their top offensive contributors still nursing injuries. Tight end Jason Witten continues to be out with a spleen injury, and receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are also not expected to play. This will give the other wideouts on the roster a continued chance to shine.

Kevin Ogletree has already taken advantage, hauling in five passes for 72 yards in the first two games and taking the lead in the battle for the No. 3 wide receiver job. But the continued absences of Austin and Bryant mean that others like Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris are still in the mix.

The injury situation for the rest of the team is a little rosier. Guard Nate Livings should return tonight after hurting his hamstring in practice several weeks ago. That means only one of the projected five starters on the offensive line - center Phil Costa - will be absent for a unit that has battled injuries throughout camp.

On defense, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, defensive end Jason Hatcher, and linebacker Anthony Spencer should also return after missing the team's first two games. However, All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware is expected to miss the contest as he recovers from a hamstring injury.



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