Thursday night football and we will see the Dallas Cowboys take on the San Diego Chargers in preseason action from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The game has a start time of 9:00 pm and will be televised on NFL Network. Vegas Odds have the Chargers listed as 3 point favorites, while the total sits at 36.5.
Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys had a mediocre 8-8 year last year, finishing 2nd in the NFC East, while missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Despite throwing for 3800 yards, 31 TD’s and just 10 INT.s, Tony Romo took most of the blame for the Cowboys failure to make the playoffs again. It is rather unfair. Romo wasn’t responsible for a crappy offensive line, or all the dropped ball the WRs had or a running that that produced just 94 ypg. Romo has a big time weapon in Dez Bryant (93 catches last year), while Jason Whitten also continues to have solid years. A glaring weakness for the Cowboys was the OL and they hope they addressed that with the drafting of OT Zack Martin from Notre Dame. Defensively the Cowboys allowed 124 points or more 9 times last year, they also allowed 40 first downs to New Orleans and 51 points to Denver. This unit needs some help and they hope that a defensive laden draft will give them that help, especially since they also lost Demarcus Ware in the offseason. After taking an offensive tackle with their first pick, the Cowboys used 7 of their last 8 picks on defense, including 2nd round pick Demarcus Lawrence and 4th round pick OLB Anthony Pickens, who both should step right in and help run new defensive coordinator Monte Kifin’s 4-3 defense.
The San Diego Chargers surprised many last year by going 9-7 andd making it to the 2nd round of the NFL playoffs, before bowing out to Denver. Philip Rivers had a very nice bounce back year under the guidance of Mike McCoy, who fixed some of Philips mechanics, while also giving him more freedom at the line of scrimmage. Rivers #1 target was rookie Keenen Allen, who caught 71 passes for 1086 yards, but beyond Allen there isn’t much to get excited about at WR. Malcom Floyd could be if he comes back strong following a neck injury, but Vincent Brown hasn’t progressed as they had hoped, while Antonio Gates continues to decline. Rivers did have two solid weapons to go to last year in TE Ladarius Green (77 catches) and Danny Woodhead (76), so there is a solid core to build around. A big reason for Rivers’ resurgence was an improve OL that got a bit better with the drafting of OG Chris Wyatt from Notre Dame. The biggest area of concern for San Diego was a secondary that was not very good last year, ranking 29th vs the pass. The Chargers used their first pick in the draft to take CB Jason Verrett from TCU. He is a bit undersized, but still he will help this unit out allot. The Bolts also helped to add depth to a solid LB corps by drafting OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech) and then the line got some help with 5th round pick NT Ryan Carrethers. Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeny give the Chargers a solid pass rush, while the secondary should be much improved.
Pick: I will be looking at the Under in this one. Both teams have top notch starting QBs and you can bet that neither will be in there very long and neither will be both OLs as both coaches do not really need to see their backup QBs in their with the 1st team OL. We also not that neither team really drafted the kind of WRs that will be big impact on their teams so they would need an extended look from them. The really looks like a game that both coaches will look to work on their run games, especially the Cowboys, who want to run more of a ball control offense this year, to help take the pressure off their defense. Speaking of defense both teams struggled in that department last year and looked to address their needs in the draft, especially Dallas, who used 7 of their last 8 picks in the draft on defense. I would expect most of them to get extended playing time here to see what they can do. Running and defense should be the name of this game and that will keep the game from posting no more than 31 points.
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