The Dallas Cowboys are in a position this season to make their fans very happy. Given how bad the NFC East is this season, there is no reason not to believe that the Cowboys won’t make it in the postseason this season. Believe it or not, but the Cowboys have the best team in this division without question, and I don’t think any other team is going to challenge them. The Eagles have the best chance, but I can see them fading away down the stretch. The Cowboys have the most rounded team, which goes without question. The defense us good and if Tony Romo keeps mistakes at a minimum, they are a very good offense with a passing and running game. The Cowboys will make the long cross country trip to the west coast in San Diego to try and improve to 3-1 on the year.
The Chargers are always a team that is up in the air. They are the poster child for inconsistency in the NFL. Trying to decipher which Charger team shows up can be a difficult proposition, but I think I have them figured out this week. The Chargers went in another direction this season and canned Norv Turner after a few disappointing seasons with the team. They have always had lofty expectations, but Norv could never take them over that hump to the next level. Norv moved on to be the offensive coordinator in Cleveland and the Chargers hired Mike McCoy to be the head coach. I don’t know if McCoy can do any better than Norv did, but they needed some fresh blood in the organization. At 1-2, the Chargers will look to get to .500 in an attempt to have a productive season. Go to 1-3 and I sense the wheels could fall off for them.
Cowboys vs. Chargers Betting Odds:
Dallas Cowboys -1 (-110)
@San Diego Chargers +1(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cowboys vs. Chargers Pick:
The Chargers and Cowboys both are teams that have always had lofty expectations, but always fall short by either not making the playoffs, or laying a dud when they get there. The Cowboys haven’t been there in quite a while, as the Giants have been ruled over the division. With the Giants falling to the wayside and possibly falling into the abyss altogether, this is the Cowboys best opportunity at making the playoffs, and possibly making a deep run. They haven’t been spectacular or anything, but they do have in my opinion one of the most underrated defenses around. The defense, armed with standout defensive end DeMarcus Ware, have moved away from the 3-4 with Rob Ryan, and gone with Monte Kiffin. I think Kiffin’s defense better suits the Cowboys’ strengths, so I liked the hire. The Cowboys are allowing only 18.3 points per game, 9th in the NFL, so they are doing something right. They have done an adequate job stopping the pass, but have been very stingy on the ground, ranked 2nd in the NFL giving up only 66.3 yards per game.
The Chargers are banged up on the offensive line, with injuries to everybody except D.J. Fluker. Their left tackle, left guard, right guard, and center were all absent from practice this week, so it could be a work in progress for the Chargers on the line. The Chargers will have their usual suspects running the show, with Philip Rivers leading the way at quarterback for another season. Rivers has done a serviceable job this season with the majority of his numbers coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 2. There Rivers passed for 419 yards with 4 touchdowns there, but has been held in check in his other games, only throwing for 185 yards a week ago. However, Rivers does 8 touchdowns and only 1 interception, so those are outstanding numbers, minimizing the mistakes and putting the ball in the end zone. Rivers couldn’t hit 200 yards in two out of his three games though, which is a reflection of the below average receiving core the Chargers have. It should be tough against a Cowboys team that has some physical corners. I don’t know if it’s time to be calling Ryan Mathews as bust, but it is pretty damn close, Mathews is averaging 54.7 yards per game on the ground and will be going up against the 2nd best run stoppers in the NFL.
The Cowboys will try and take advantage of a defense that ranks 31st in the NFL in yards allowed. The Chargers allow a whopping 470.7 yards per game, and have gotten hit for big plays on a regular basis. They’ll need to look out for the home run threat with DeMarco Murray on the ground and of course Dez Bryant vertically. The Cowboys are one of those offenses that gets in trouble against good defenses, but takes advantage of the lesser capable units in the league. Starting running back Demarco Murray was banged up last season, but provides an immediate boost to the offense with his presence. It opens up so much more down the field for the offense. Instead of just focusing on Bryant, defenses do need to account for Murray at the line. I expect Murray to have a fine game against a Chargers’ defense that is 28th in the NFL against the run. The Chargers are also dead last against the run, so they shouldn’t have any problems there either.
To me this game comes down to the health of the San Diego Chargers’ offensive line. If they are going to be working with only one regular starter, then I don’t think the Chargers will be able to pull this out. The Cowboys are pretty solid up front, and should be able to disrupt the running game with ease against this patchwork line. At the least I think they will be without three of their starters, so things could get messy against DeMarcus Ware and company. I see the Chargers are a popular pick given the Cowboys need to travel out to the west coast, and yes, I usually take the home team on these cross country trips. However, I just can’t back the Chargers here with their offensive line in shambles against the 2nd best team in stopping the run. I expect the Cowboys to force the Chargers into 3rd-and-longs all afternoon long. I’ll be on the Cowboys Sunday afternoon.
PICK: Cowboys -1 (-110)