Game Preview: Cowboys at San Diego Chargers


The Cowboys will not have to travel far for their next game, just a little jaunt on the highway down to San Diego for a Saturday night romp with the Chargers.  Kickoff is at 7 pm CST and will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.

The Cowboys

The Cowboys opened up their preseason with an ugly win over the Oakland Raiders, 3-0.  As I reviewed the other fan websites and sports sites, they are still talking about how awful the offensive line was.

In my preview of the Raiders game, I suggest to watch the battle between the Cowboy offensive line and Demarco Murray against the Oakland defensive line.  Needless to say, poor Murray had nowhere to go and the offensive line looked horribly out of sync.

Defensively, the Cowboys either looked sharp or the Raiders offense was just as miserable.  One note, the Cowboys had one major injury to report.  Rookie linebacker Kyle Wilber will be out about a month with a broken thumb.  In the scope of things, that isn’t too bad of an injury.  Most coaches will tell you that their ultimate goal of any game is to win, but that secondary goal is to come out of it injury free.  Being a former trainer myself, I am sure head trainer Jim Maurer appreciated the fairly easy night.

According to the teams website, Morris Claiborne along with Mike Jenkins will be back to play.

The Chargers

San Diego played against the Green Bay Packers, in a game that had its first female official.  This young lady along with all of the rest of the officials that have been officiating, are replacements for the current ones that are on strike.  The Chargers won the contest, 21-13.

After reading the notes from their website,, it appears offensively Phillip Rivers is still struggling with the interception bug.  He didn’t play a full quarter and managed one touchdown to one interception.  Their overall offensive performance was an improvement from a season ago as they outgained the Packers 326-230.

The players to watch out for are Antonio Gates, who has said to reporters, “He is feeling better now than any other season.”  If he is feeling better then Dallas better watch out for him and put at least one of the fast linebackers against him.  The interesting matchup will be Phillip Rivers against the Dallas secondary.  With Claiborne and Jenkins in the mix, we will finally get to see what our defensive backfield can do.  If Rivers can’t shake the interceptions, both should have a big day.

Defensively, the Chargers have improved on one important stat from a year ago.  Granted it is only one preseason game, but improvement is improvement no matter how you look at it.  In 2011, the Chargers struggled with third down conversions; this according to their website.  Against the Packers, they had seven three and outs.  This is not particularly good for an offense that struggled against the Raiders.

I think the most interesting battle will be Tony Romo against the Charger defensive backfield.  The Packers had 179 yards passing, but allowed 13 points in a game that was pretty close, according to reports.

The Game 

I cannot believe I am doing this, but I am trying to be a realist more than anything else.  I don’t feel that our Cowboys offensive line woes will fix themselves in one week.  Against a team that had seven three and outs, our offense may struggle.  Tony Romo had better have quick feet and Jason Garrett better call some boot legs to protect his quarterback.  Until the offensive line shows improvement, we will lose this game in a close one, 14-10.