The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of a tough loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1 after a really gutsy performance. From Dak Prescott showing he is back and on a mission, to the defense, albeit not great overall, making timely plays, the team showed something. That only goes so far though, and the Cowboys need to bounce back this week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
There are some matchups on both sides of the ball that are going to be interesting and keys to this game. The Cowboys should be prepared for these matchups and figure out how to exploit any advantages they have or at least manage any disadvantages to limit catastrophe. Let’s take a look at a few intriguing matchups that stand out to me.
Dallas Cowboys DBs vs. Keenan Allen and Justin Herbert
Keenan Allen, wide receiver, showed up big time last week. The prolific route runner went for 100 yards and appears to be the favorite target of quarterback, Justin Herbert. Against a Washington Football Team defense, that many think is elite, Herbert completed nearly two-thirds of his passes for well over 300 yards.
This tandem is lethal if they can get it going. Allen is going to be a mismatch for most of the Cowboys’ secondary if he spends the afternoon running in green grass. Cowboys cornerback, Trevon Diggs, is coming off of a stellar performance holding Tampa Bay wide receiver, Mike Evans, to a measly one reception for ten yards. Diggs guarded Evans on 83% of the snaps.
Expect to see the same tendency as the Cowboys look to slow down Keenan Allen. While Diggs primarily played press against Evans due to him being more of a big-body possession receiver, playing an off-man technique may suit him better this week.
Allen is one of, if not the best receiver in the league at clearing space with his release and usage in motion. Running with Allen in man and using his speed could be how Diggs provides the Cowboys another stellar performance.
Diggs likely will, and should, be following Allen wherever he lines up on Sunday. The Chargers will likely try to move Allen via motion or lining him up in the slot to create a mismatch on other Cowboys defensive backs who were, at best, suspect against Tampa.
This is an area the Cowboys need to give help over the top or they could be in for a long day. The Cowboys’ defensive performance this week very likely rides on just how successfully they slow down Herbert and Allen.