Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Los Angeles Chargers At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackThe Chargers regularly follow a pattern staying close to their opponents and having an opportunity to take the lead or earn a victory, but they regularly fall short. Quarterback Philip Rivers is both an asset and a weakness, as he plays with courage and tenacity and can make key plays at big moments, but he will also take big risks that often cost his team.Dak Prescott has not looked like the same quarterbacks since Ezekiel Elliott has been forced out of action by his league-imposed suspension. Prescott threw three interceptions and fumbled once in the Week 11 loss to the Eagles, and he needs to bounce back here with a big performance. If the Dallas offensive line fails to protect him, Prescott could have another tough game.
- OffenseMelvin Gordon has not had an outstanding season, but the speedy running back is capable of breaking big plays that can turn the game in the Chargers’ favor. If he can do that early in the game, it could make it much easier for Rivers to go downfield. Keenan Allen is a star who can make the difficult catch, while Tyrell Williams is an excellent complementary receiver.Life has gotten far more challenging for the Cowboys without star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who will be serving the third game of his suspension. Alfred Morris can get away from the first hit, but he does not have Elliott’s breakaway speed. Dez Bryant is a powerful wideout who can win the battle for the ball, but he has been good and not great this season. TE Jason Witten is Prescott’s lifeline.
- DefenseThe Chargers are not overly consistent on defense as they rank 22nd in yards allowed, but they are capable of dominating when Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are on their game. Those two pass rushers can cause havoc for Prescott if he does not get rid of the ball quickly. FS Tre Boston can make big plays in the secondary.With the offense short-handed as a result of the Elliott suspension, the Cowboys must upgrade their defense and put the clamps down on the Chargers’ attack. The Cowboys have the pass rushers in DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving to cause havoc. Dallas knows that Rivers will put the ball at risk when he faces significant pressure.
- Special TeamsThe Chargers have had big problems with their special teams all season, and while Travis Benjamin has a punt return TD to his credit, Los Angeles has been outgained badly on kickoff returns. The kicking game was a disaster early in the year, and it hasn’t been much better since signing Nick Novak.The Cowboys are likely to be without PK Dan Bailey once again as he attempts to rehab and recover from his groin injury. Mike Nugent is a decent replacement kicker, but he is not as good as Bailey. Ryan Switzer is a decent return specialist, but he has not been able to break long returns to this point.
The Cowboys are handicapped without Elliott, but they have the more talented team and they should be motivated as they are fighting for a playoff spot. The Chargers make too many mistakes at key moments.