Chargers at Cowboys Match-up Advantages
By Sean Kirk
The Los Angeles Chargers head into Dallas on Thanksgiving to take on the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s take a look at where each team has the advantage on the other.
Philip Rivers is coming off one of his best games of the season, despite the concussion he sustained the week prior. He made very wise decisions and seemed more comfortable in the pocket last week than in previous games. He’s put up relatively good numbers this season. Dak Prescott has been about average this season. He hasn’t put up good stats even with Ezekiel Elliott out. Dak threw three interceptions last week and struggled against the Philly defense. Dak will struggle again against a very good Chargers pass defense. Advantage: Chargers
With Zeke out, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith will take the bulk of the carries. Morris has looked impressive. He doesn’t have the speed to outrun defensive backs or the power to take on linebackers, but he sees the field pretty well and hits the right holes. Morris had a good game against a good Philly run defense. Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon is coming off a pretty good game against the Buffalo Bills and would’ve rushed for over 100 yards had the Bills kept the game close. Gordon has struggled in the past couple games prior to last week to hit the right holes and make decisions, but has shown impressive speed and power. Austin Ekeler has really impressed in the last few games especially in the passing game. He has complemented Gordon very well. Advantage: Chargers
The Cowboys and Chargers both have impressive receiving corps. Keenan Allen finally was used more last week and lit up the Bills defense. Tyrell Williams finally had a better game, but has struggled all season. Travis Benjamin has speed, but not much else. Mike Williams looked pretty good last week and seems to be taking strides in easing himself in and learning the playbook. I expect him to have a good game. The Cowboys have a strong receiver in Dez Bryant who can grab those 50/50 balls and dominate the game. Terrence Williams has been mediocre. Cole Beasley has a lot of raw ability but struggles to separate himself from cornerbacks in coverage. I think the Chargers wide receivers have more ability, but this is a close one. Advantage: Chargers
Hunter Henry is already one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He blocks and catches very well. Jason Witten is nearing retirement. This one is easy. Advantage: Chargers
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The Cowboys offensive line has been known as the best in the league. They should have Tyron Smith back tomorrow. Travis Frederick and Zach Martin are exceptional. Russell Okung has been excellent for the Chargers but the interior line has struggled. Advantage: Cowboys
The Chargers possess one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Darius Philon is a rising star who has played exceptional. The Cowboys have a weapon in Demarcus Lawrence, but not much else. Advantage: Chargers
The Chargers have Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman, who has been more than outstanding in the run defense. His return has changed the defense with his leadership and talent. The Cowboys star LB Sean Lee will be out and Anthony Hitchens will be a game-time decision. The Cowboys potentially could be playing two backups. Advantage: Chargers
The Chargers have probably the best cornerback in the NFL within the last six games in Casey Hayward. Trevor Williams has also been impressive. He is ranked as the No. 11 cornerback this season. The Cowboys cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll have struggled this season. Advantage: Chargers
PFF ranks Tre Boston and Jahleel Addae as the No. 22 and No. 14 safeties, respectfully. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ Byron Jones and Jeff Heath are ranked as the No. 57 and No. 61 players at the position. Addae has been excellent in the run game and decent in coverage. Boston has been a ballhawk and good in coverage. Advantage: Chargers
Overall, the Chargers match up very well with the Cowboys. On paper, they are a better team. But, the Chargers have struggled to execute and win games despite being put in position to do so.
This game will be close.