Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
The Cowboys are 2-point favorites on the road against San Diego, with the over/under set at a middle-of-the-road 46.5. But the building blocks are there for two OVER teams: both teams have fairly good offenses, and Philip Rivers and Tony Romo both rank within the top five in passer rating. Here's what the two teams have looked like over the last three games in terms of points scored and points allowed:
|Points per game, 2013|
|Points For (Rank)||Points Against (Rank)|
|Cowboys||27.7 (5th)||18.3 (9th)|
|Chargers||26.0 (9th)||27.0 (24th)|
The published opinions polled below are coming down 7-2 for the OVER. But will Sunday's game really be the high-scoring affair some of the predictions seem to suggest it will be, or will the Cowboys defense hold against the Chargers? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments section.
|Elliot Harrison, NFL.com||29-21||Dallas is coming off a game in which the pass rush dumped Rams quarterback Sam Bradford six times and knocked him down almost 20 more. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers' protection, however, has held up so far. King Dunlap has played OK, surrendering two sacks. On Sunday, though, he'll face DeMarcus Ware, who is coming off a nice two-sack effort from his right defensive end position. Meanwhile, ol' George Selvie has quietly played very well for the Cowboys on the other side. San Diego simply cannot afford to get into a track meet and let the whole game be put on Rivers. The most reliable running back at Rivers' disposal, believe it or not, is Danny Woodhead. Meanwhile, no one on the Chargers can lock up on Dez Bryant; if Eric Weddle is busy with Bryant and the other Cowboys receivers, Jason Witten will catch seven balls.|
|Pro Football Talk|
|Smith: Tony Romo and Philip Rivers are both playing very well this year. I think Rivers will play just a little better against the Cowboys’ defense than Romo against the Chargers’ defense, and San Diego will win a high-scoring game.|
Florio: The Chargers should be 3-0. The Cowboys should be 3-0. After this one, they’ll both be 2-2. Philip Rivers overachieves in the battle of underachieving quarterbacks. Chargers 28, Cowboys 27.
|Don Banks, SI.com ||21-15||The Chargers have played well enough to win -- at least for the most part -- all three weeks of the season. And now they finally get rookie linebacker Manti Te'o healthy and on the field for the first time this season. Let's see what the ex-Golden Domer can do with a lightning bolt on his helmet. But whatever he adds, it won't be enough to lift Mike McCoy's improved team past the first-place Cowboys. Dallas has already lost once on the road in the AFC West this season, at Kansas City. If the Cowboys are who I think they are, it won't happen again.|
|Pete Prisco, CBS Sports||23-13||The Chargers return home after two on the road, where they went 1-1. The Cowboys are coming off an impressive home victory over the Rams. The Dallas defense is much improved and they have the second-ranked run defense in the league. That will make it tough for the Chargers to get it going, which means pressure all day on Philip Rivers. The Cowboys do enough on offense to find a way.|
|Peter Schrager, Foxsports||31-34||Both Chargers' losses have come in the final 40 seconds. Heartbreaking, really. On paper, they’re a 1-2 team that just can’t get out of their own way. In reality, they should be 3-0 and challenging those Chiefs and Broncos in the AFC West. Need an upset special for the week? Give me the rare home underdogs.|
|Greg Cote, Miami Herald||30-24||Chargers family jarred this week by the suicide of former teammate Paul Oliver, a safety from 2007 to 2011. Hard to read the effect of that, if any. More tangibly, Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray could deliver fantasy-pleasing stats against a beatable Diego defense, and the Cowboys’ pass rush should really test a shaky Bolts O-line.|
|Sam Farmer, L.A. Times||24-28||The Chargers have blown fourth-quarter leads in all three games, coming back just once. Still, Philip Rivers is getting the ball out quicker. Cowboys are the best of the NFC East, but that’s not saying much.|
|Vinny Iyer, Sporting News||34-24||Antonio Ramiro Romo (you know him as Tony) and the 2-1 Gauchos will celebrate the NFL's Hispanic Heritage Month with a proud victory. Their versatile passing game and Tampa 2 defense don't bode well for the Chargers' secondary and Philip Rivers' dink-dunk attack.|
Here's an additional summary of picks for the weekend, none of which provide a specific soundbite for their picks. The table is sorted by a column titled 'pick accuracy' which shows how accurate these panels have been in predicting the correct outcome of the first three Cowboys games.
|Rank (LW)||Site||Cowboys||Chargers||Pick Accuracy|
|3(3)||Dallas Morning News||5||3||.708 (17-7)|
|3 (7)||Pro Football Focus||5||3||.708 (17-7)|
|5(2)||USA Today||6||1||.666 (14-7)|
|5 (5)||NFL Around The League||4||1||.666 (10-5)|
|8(9)||Inside the NFL||2||0||.600 (3-2)|
The pundits above seem to be pretty confident in a Cowboys win. Are you?