Welcome to Week Six in the NFL! This last Sunday we saw the only two undefeated teams (San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles) LOSE to two teams that really had no business even keeping those games close. The 49ers lost to the 2-2 PJ Walked-led Cleveland Browns, who were without DeShawn Watson, Nick Chubb, and others. The Eagles lost to the New York Jets, who had a record of 2-3 coming into the game and were led by Zach Wilson. WILSOOON! Philly was 12-0 against the Jets in their lifetime matchups against the Jets. Tonight, we get to watch two teams who were expected to be doing better to start off the season: the Dallas Cowboys and the L.A. Chargers.
Dallas Cowboys (3-2)
The Dallas Cowboys have a record of 3-2 coming into tonight’s game and have outscored their opponents by a combined 51 points (10 points per game). They’re sixth in the league in points scored, and eight in rushing yards per game. Statistically, the Cowboys have a solid defense as well, giving up on average only 16.5 points and 292 yards per game, which are seventh and eighth respectively in the NFL. The ‘Boys passing defense is elite, giving up only 169 passing yards per game (third best in the NFL), and is being led by CB Daron Bland, who is tied with a league-leading three interceptions this season.
However, Dallas has only played one team with a winning record, in the San Francisco 49ers, and got whooped by a score of 42-10. The ‘Boys beat the New York Giants and New England Patriots who are both a paltry 1-5, and the Jets who are 3-3 by some miracle. Dallas also lost to the Arizona Cardinals, giving the red birds their only victory of the season so far, which I’m sure they wear like a badge of honor. So, this makes the Cowboys record a little less impressive really, especially when you consider that they’re 22nd in rushing defense and 17th in offensive yards per game. Quarterback Dak Prescott is also ranked 17th overall for his Passer Rating of 87.5, and most fans (even Cowboy fans) seem to not like him very much.
Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
The Los Angels Chargers have a record of 2-2 and are coming off their Bye Week. They did win their last two games played, but to be fair, it was a four-point win against the 2-4 Minnesota Vikings, and a seven-point win against the 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders. The Chargers have not beaten a team with a winning record either; however, they went “punch-for-punch” against the Miami Dolphins (5-1) in Week One and barely lost by a score of 36-34. The ‘Bolts other loss came to the 2-4 Tennessee Titans in O.T. in Week Two, keeping every game within one score. Los Angeles is the epitome of a team that plays down to it’s opponents.
The Chargers are truly playing like an average team. Their opponents have a combined record of 12-12 and they have outscored them by a total of only six points. The Chargers offense has been one of the tops in the league, ranking second in average passing yards per game, third in overall average yards per game, and fifth in points per game. Wide Receiver Keenan Allen is ranked 13th in receiving yards despite only playing in four games, and Austin Ekeler will be returning tonight after being injured in Week One after tallying 117 yards on just 16 carries. However, their defense is ranked last in passing yards given up per game, 31st in overall yards given up per game, and 26th in points given up per game. I can understand to an extent how this might happen playing against the Dolphins and the Vikings, but to the Raiders…and Titans?
Who Gets the "Dub"?
As it pertains to turnover differential, both teams have done very well in takeaways. Dallas is tied for 3rd with a +6 differential, and the Chargers are tied for sixth at a +5. Cowboys Linebacker Micah Parsons has been leading the pressure for the Dallas D with four sacks and a forced fumble, while the Chargers Pro-Bowl LB Khalil Mack is 6th in the NFL with six sacks, and has two forced fumbles. Another of LA’s linebackers, Joey Bosa has three sacks, but is listed as Questionable to play tonight against the Cowboys. So, what are the implications of tonight’s game?
I currently have the Dallas Cowboys ranked 10th in my Power Rankings. IF they beat the Chargers tonight, I can only see them going up one spot. They aren’t better than any of the 5-1 teams, nor would I place them above any of the 4-2 teams. IF Dallas loses though, they will drop to somewhere around 17th-19th). The Chargers are in the same boat. I currently have them ranked 11th, and IF they win tonight against the Cowboys, they may only go up one spot. However, IF they lose, they’re looking at the same fate as the Cowboys. So, for each of these teams, this is a must win game to remain relevant. No matter who wins, neither would still have a win against a team with a winning record, as the Cowboys would then fall to 3-3. I’ll take the home team in the match-up: Chargers over Cowboys, 30 to 20. Thanks for the “read”!