Bolt Beat Week 12 Staff Picks: Chargers get national Thanksgiving spotlight
By Travis Wakeman
Food and football. That’s part of what makes Thanksgiving so great, right?
There will be plenty of both on this day and for fans of the Los Angeles Chargers, they’ll get the added satisfaction of cheering on their team as they battle America’s Team at Jerry World.
The Chargers haven’t played on Thanksgiving since their AFL days, so they should have no problem getting up for this one. Add in the fact that a struggling Cowboys team seems ripe for the picking and you have all the makings of the Bolts making a big statement as you put down your second (or third) plate.
The writing staff here at Bolt Beat is ready to give you its thoughts on how this game will go down. Read below for their predictions. Each writer’s win-loss record in picking games this season is in parentheses.
Alexander Insdorf (6-4): “It’s wonderful to be playing on Thanksgiving in a prime time game against the Cowboys. I never really thought we would ever play a Thanksgiving game. Coming off a win against the Bills, we come into the game against the Cowboys pretty hot from an amazing defensive performance as well as a really good offensive performance. The Cowboys come into this match-up the other way, getting routed in their previous two games after a decent start to the season by the Falcons and Eagles. The good news for the Cowboys is that they do get back tackle Tyron Smith, who’s been a key to that offensive line. Bad news? Starting linebacker Sean Lee is out, Ezekiel Elliott is still suspended, and Dak Prescott has been struggling hard. I don’t think the Chargers win this one quite like they did last week in a 30-point rout, but I think they will start to pull away in the second half with the struggles the Cowboys have been having on offense, especially coming off a short week. I think Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram make Prescott struggle, and the offense uses an even amount of Rivers and Gordon/Ekeler to pick apart a sub-par Cowboys defense. Please, do not let this game come down to a Nick Novak field goal. FINAL SCORE: LAC 30- DAL 17.”
Scott Iger (4-6): “In this week’s matchup with the Cowboys, I expect the Bolts to keep up their momentum and with the help of a high-performing defense, handily beat the ailing Cowboys. With the Bolts’ defense playing at the top of their game and their offense beginning to click at all cylinders, the Chargers seem to be hitting their stride. The Bolts win a very important game on Turkey Day to put themselves into the national eye. Bolts take it, 28-14.”
Anthony Totri (6-4): “What a weird time for this game. The Chargers are hot and the Cowboys are falling. It’s tempting to make this game a close one, but the Bolts are on such a role that I don’t see stopping anytime soon. With the relatively easy remaining schedule, Philip Rivers and company know this is likely one of their most difficult contests left. Give me the Chargers 31 – Cowboys 21.”
Tanner Wrape (0-3): “I seem to be awful at predicting this team but here goes nothing. The Chargers are coming off a big win against the Bills. In reality, that was a game they should have won 10 times out 10. But they did do it in convincing fashion and it was refreshing to have the game in the bag before halftime. That being said, I feel confident going into this short week against the Cowboys who are without Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliot. I still think it will be a close game but the Chargers come out on top 31-20. Bold Prediction: Philly Rivers finds Hunter Henry for 2 TD’s.”
Sean Kirk (2-1): “Chargers will play on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1969. They’ll be wearing those powder blues, too. The game will have heavy playoff implications on both teams. Whichever team loses will have their chances severely diminished. The Cowboys’ defense will be missing their defensive captain Sean Lee. In addition, Tyron Smith will be a game-time decision along with Anthony Hitchens. The Cowboys offense has proven to struggle without Zeke. The Chargers are relatively healthy and are coming off a very strong performance on offense along with the continued success of the defense. The Chargers have struggled against a few of the better offensive lines early on in the season. However, the Cowboys lack offensive weapons to expose the Chargers defense. The Cowboys rush defense is below average while the pass defense is a bit better. Demarcus Lawrence will need to be blocked well by the Chargers’ tackles. In a close game, I’ll take the Chargers as they match up fairly well with the Cowboys. Chargers win 31-24.”
Kade Dohmen (3-7): “Dallas has been struggling offensively, especially in pass protection. Now they play a hot defense with the best pass-rushing duo in football? Bolts feast on Turkey Day, 27-13.”
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Tyler Schoon (3-6): “I’m feeling a ton of confidence headed into this week’s game, so I’ll come out and pick an easy (!) Chargers win. The Cowboys are lacking star players, and those that remain are underperforming. I’d hate to be Dallas’ “get right” game, but I don’t think they figure it out on a short week. Having given up 64 points in their last two games and only scoring 16 of their own, this Dallas team is stumbling. This one is close in the second half, but the Chargers should pull away eventually. Chargers 27, Cowboys 19.”
Mike Murray (2-3): “On paper this looks like a bad matchup for the Chargers. The Cowboys have a good running game and the Chargers run defense has not been that great. However, take Ezekiel Elliot out of the game and add Denzel Perryman into the mix and maybe the stats from the first 10 games are misleading. I think this goes one of two ways. The Chargers make multiple mistakes and play poor on special teams and lose by either missing a late FG or the Cowboys making one. The second way this goes is the Chargers ride the momentum of smashing the Bills last week into Thursday and come out energized and pumped. The D dominates and Rivers is allowed to pass on first down for the second game in a row. Bolts get up early and hold off a late Dallas rally. Chargers 30, Dallas 24.”
Matt Pagels (6-4): “Turkey Day and the Chargers are playing! Rare, I know, but I’m excited. And after the way the Bolts bullied the Bills last week, they have a lot of momentum going their way. Meanwhile, the Cowboys do not after getting beat up by the Eagles. No Zeke or Sean Lee (maybe no Tyron Smith) for Dem Boys. I like the Chargers winning by a touchdown or two in this one.”
Travis Wakeman (7-3): “I’m going to make it a clean sweep for taking the Chargers in this one, even if they are going on the road. I feel the players that are missing for Dallas will be too much to overcome and the Chargers’ defense shines again, getting the team to 5-6 on the season. Chargers 27, Cowboys 17.”