The Los Angeles Chargers head to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, their first appearance on the day since 1969. The matchup could potentially end up being a tense affair as the season is on the line for both teams.
Dallas’ offense got shut out in the second half of their latest fixture by possibly the best team in the NFL, Philadelphia. The Sunday Night Football matchup ended 37-9 to the Eagles after they scored 30 straight points after being down, 9-7, at half time.
The Chargers head into the game with some momentum. After the embarrassment of Jacksonville, they came out all guns blazing against Rookie Quarterback Nate Peterman and his Buffalo side. After 5 first half interceptions, including a Korey Toomer pick 6, which opened the scoring for the Bolts, Peterman was sacrificed for Tyrod Taylor. The Chargers went on to break many records during the game including the most first half points (54) since 2006 and the most inceptions by a team, in one half, since the Miami Dolphins, who also got 5, in 1973.
The Bolts, however, cannot rest on that victory as the result makes the Dallas fixture, even more important.
Last week, the build-up was mostly focused around the QBs. Unfortunately, this week, it’s injuries – and for both teams. With the manor of their 54-24 victory on Sunday, Anthony Lynn could rest some of his starters and key contributors in the 4th quarter. With Dallas playing on SNF, this had already given them a disadvantage. Against the Eagles, the Cowboys had a couple of key names out; Linebacker Sean Lee and Offensive Tackle Tyron Smith. Lee was ruled out by General Manager Jerry Smith on Monday, but Smith, still has a chance. The tackle is Questionable but it is said that he’s likely to play. That would be a huge boost for a team that has struggled to protect Quarterback Dak Prescott, since Smith has been unavailable. Kicker Dan Bailey should also be back for the Cowboys. Lineman La’el Collins was added to the report on Tuesday and is listed as questionable.
For the Chargers, they have seven players that are Questionable for Thursday. Players such as OT Joe Barksdale, LB Hayes Pullard, LB James Onwuala and DE Chris McCain missed the game vs Buffalo. Barksdale, Pullard and McCain were all full participants on Wednesday; Onwuala was limited. New additions to the injury report are Receivers Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin, and Left Tackle Russell Okung. All three have been limited since Monday. Okung might be the biggest miss for the Bolts as he’s been key to any success the Chargers offense has had.
Bosa/Ingram vs Dallas’ Tackles:
Whoever lines up at the tackle spots for Dallas, are going to have a tough time, whether that’s Smith or backup Byron Bell. Last Sunday, Dak Prescott had three inceptions and a fumble, in the loss. It’s a competitive matchup that you feel the Bolts need to get the upper hand on if they want to succeed on Thursday.
Chargers ‘backs vs Dallas’ Front 7:
Without Sean Lee, the Cowboys have a big disadvantage, but on the other hand, the Chargers haven’t exactly prospered at running the ball, either. Dallas gave up just over 200 yards to the plethora of Eagles’ talented running backs last week. Chargers don’t quite have that talent but in Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, they have two backs that can hopefully take advantage of the opposition’s weakness.
Bolts WRs vs Dallas’ Secondary:
Keenan Allen really is the key here. The Receiver scored two touchdowns vs Buffalo, getting in the endzone for the first time since the opening weekend. It looked like Allen could finally run his routes comfortably, after recovering from his ACL injury last year. The Cowboys secondary got a new intake of youth this offseason with the team drafting cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie, who has just returned from injury. Safety Xavier Woods was also added on Day 3 of the Draft. All, on their day, can have a big impact.
The Powder Blues are back for the Bolts! The timing is a little strange as this is a Thursday Night Game, you would expect them to be wearing their, just as good, Color Rush uniforms.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a big game for both teams, and the stage couldn’t be more apt. Thanksgiving. Powder Blues. The Jerry Dome. Perfect for the Chargers to ‘upset’ the Cowboys, on their own turf… just.
Final score Prediction: Chargers 34, Cowboys 30
-Thomas Herd is a Staff Writer and covers the Los Angeles Chargers for cover32.com/Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @chargers_uk