The Dallas Cowboys play at San Diego Sunday with a good opportunity to win their 3rd game and start asserting themselves in the NFC East. While the Chargers are good on offense led by QB Phillip Rivers, their defense has weaknesses that may present opportunities for the Dallas offense.
Chargers Run Defense: NFL Rank- 28th
Last week Dallas got their run game back on track against the Rams with 194 yards and against the Chargers, they may want to keep it on the ground some more. The Chargers are allowing 130 yards/game on the ground including a very generous 5.1 yards per rush attempt.
By running the ball at least 20 times or so, Dallas can keep Phillip Rivers off the field and that’s a good thing. This is a good week for the Dallas offense to stick to the run.
Chargers Pass Defense: NFL Rank- 32nd (dead last)
If for some reason the run game isn’t working against the Chargers, the Cowboys pass game should do just fine. The Chargers defense is last in the NFL in passing yards allowed with 341 yards per game. Romo and Dez should have a good game against that defense.
Chargers Defense pressure the QB: 6 sacks (only 2/game) tied for 24th in the NFL
Now a look at when the Chargers have the ball.
Chargers rushing offense: NFL rank- 18th
The Chargers rush for 102.7 yards a game which isn’t terrible but clearly, they prefer to let Rivers throw the ball primarily. However the Chargers have more rushing attempts than the Cowboys so far this year.
The Dallas defense ranks a strong 2nd in the NFL in rush defense. If Dallas can shut down that Charger run game early, they can focus on bringing the pressure to Rivers.
Chargers Pass Offense: NFL rank- 12th
This is the Chargers and passing is what they do. They have passed for 257 yards a game so this will present a challenge to the Dallas defense which has allowed a lot of passing yards this season. ELi Manning threw for 450 yards in week one.
And the Chargers throw it down the field when they pass, as they rank in the top 10 in yards per attempt. Rivers has a 70% completion percentage which is 3rd highest in the NFL and just behind Romo who is second. The Dallas secondary has been a bit of a weak spot so far and Rivers is capable of exploiting that weakness.
Pressure the QB
A key for Dallas will be getting to Rivers with some pressure but so far this season he has only been sacked 5 times. Rivers is known to have a quick release throwing the ball so sacking him is not easy.
Take away/give away
The Chargers defense has only one interception this season and that one takeaway puts them at the bottom of the AFC. Rivers has only thrown 1 INT. but the offense has 3 fumbles this season.
Dallas has done a better job of taking the ball away and that may just be the key to winning this game on the road.
This match up reminds me a little of the Giants who Dallas beat in week one 36-31. I expect plenty of scoring and Rivers will make some plays on that Dallas secondary. But if Dallas can create a few turnovers from the Chargers, I really like their chances to win this one.