A common Thanksgiving tradition is the Cowboys playing at home on the Thursday, though given their recent form and Sunday evening’s debacle – you wonder if the players would almost wish they were on the road.
Mired in injuries, Dallas looked pretty awful on Sunday night against their NFC East rivals – the Philadelphia Eagles. After a solid first half, the group collapsed badly and ended up getting blown out. Their playoff spot is in jeopardy and with nagging injuries a common theme among their top players, you get the sense that it is all unravelling with Dallas.
It won’t make things much easier with Dallas having to welcome a pretty hot and in-form L.A. Chargers squad to their stadium. Los Angeles has won four of their past six after losing four in a row to begin the season, and are starting to play well on both sides of the football. They dropped 54 points on the Bills last week and made life a nightmare for rookie QB Nathan Peterman. They also play many dull games in their own stadium and rarely get to feature in any prime-time contests. You can bet they’ll be amped up to have all eyes in the league on them on Thanksgiving Thursday.
Can the Chargers continue their improbably climb in the AFC West? Read on below to find out – with full game analysis and a betting prediction for Chargers/Cowboys.
Chargers vs. Cowboys Betting Odds:
Los Angeles Chargers -2 (-110)
@ Dallas Cowboys +2 (-110)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chargers vs. Cowboys Pick:
Even though Dallas is without their star running back in Ezekiel Elliott, that likely isn’t the most impactful injury within the squad right now. Dallas is also missing Sean Lee, the heart and soul and brains of the Cowboys’ defense. And they are also missing Tyron Smith along their offensive line.
Without Smith, Dak Prescott has had no protection from the edge. He’s not receiving the blocking he did last year, and as a result the Dallas offense isn’t gelling as well as it could have been. And while it has been reported that he does plan on playing, watching his status will be imperative in the lead-up to game time. Still however, you have to wonder about his overall health and effectiveness. On either edge, the Cowboys will certainly have their hands full. Melvin Ingram will terrorize one side, and Joey Bosa the other. Together that duo should be able to get to Prescott and apply all kinds of pressure on the young QB.
Dallas will have a very tough time scoring – even with solid blocking. Those chains won’t be moving. Dez Bryant seems out of form of late, and he will likely be blanketed by Casey Hayward. L.A. is also quite stout against the run, especially without run-stuffer Denzel Perryman back in the fold. Things will be tough for the Cowboys on Thursday.
With Dallas on defense, they remain a mess. We saw it in the second half against the Eagles on Sunday night – and I’d expect that to continue right where it left off against the Chargers. Keenan Allen was dominant last week connecting with Philip Rivers, and I can’t trust Orlando Scandrick to effectively cover him. Moreover, without Sean Lee the middle of the field won’t be able to defend against tight ends or running backs. Huge games are on the horizon for both Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon on Thursday evening. Dallas has had big issues dealing with pass-catching running backs, and Rivers will be able to move the chains with regularity.
This is a game with two teams headed in opposite directions. Following a sluggish start to the season, the Chargers now sense they have a second life in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs coming back to reality. I expect the Chargers’ defense to apply all kinds of pressure to Prescott and force him into running a one-dimensional offense. And I’d also look for Philip Rivers to put up a great outing against an undermanned Cowboys’ defense. Look for the Chargers to keep their hot streak going on Thursday.
PICK = Chargers -2 (-110)