Dallas Cowboys @ San Diego Chargers
Start Time: Sunday, 21:25
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Now this is the sort of the game that reminds me of why I love the NFL so much. Offensively, both teams play with an almost reckless level of aggression and it's great to watch. Defensively, both remind me of a fisherman who hardly ever catches anything, but when he does, it's something akin to Moby Dick. In other words, they're generally poor on defence, but when they do make plays, they are big ones.
Let's start with a look at San Diego's results so far. All three of their games were decided by a three point margin. Quite how the Chargers managed to lose two of those games, I just don't know. They played brilliantly in all three and deserved to win the lot. It has be a worry though. If great sides usually find a way to somehow win, then what does that say about teams that snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Be very wary of them, is what it says to me.
The Chargers running game has again been a disappointment. Their offensive line has looked like butter melting in front of a fire and has failed to make many openings for lead running back Ryan Mathews, who's turned-in a string of mediocre performances. That's forced the Chargers to rely almost entirely on the mercurial arm of quarterback Philip Rivers. And with eight touchdowns and almost 800 passing yards, he hasn't disappointed.
But lets's just take a reality check here. This is Philip Rivers, a player so prone to self-destruction that even his most ardent fans can't truly trust him.
Rivers has a great arm when things are going his way, and so far they have been, with his team jumping into early leads in each of their games to date. It's what will happen when they don't start so well that has me concerned, especially considering that Dallas have led at half time in each one of their games. I've seen Rivers implode too many times before. And when it happens, it always spells disaster for San Siego.
Given the evidence so far, it's starting to look ominously good for the 2-1 Dallas Cowboys. Their only defeat so far came away from home, and by just a single point, at the hands of highly-acclaimed Kansas. That's a loss that ranks almost as good as a win. The Dallas offence has been impressive, and in a much more balanced way than San Diego's. Tony Romo has looked on top form at QB, passing for 771 yards and six TDs. But the Cowboys also possess a genuine running game, as shown by DeMarco Murray's 286 yards rushing.
One of the biggest differences between these teams though can be seen in their offensive lines. Romo appears to be getting better protection than ever before, and as we saw last season with Baltimore, that can turn a decent team into Superbowl winners. By comparison, San Diego's line looks like it's held together by string. Rivers has been managing to make big plays, but he's often been on the back foot when doing so.
The Cowboys defence gave up 31 points to the Giants passing attack, suggesting there are points there to be had for the Chargers. But I suspect there'll be quite a few turnovers as well, with Rivers mixing-up the TDs with the interceptions, and increasingly so, once he's forced to chase the game.
Back Dallas Cowboys to win @ 1.845/6 (Exchange)
Back Dallas to score more than 27.5 points @ 7/4 (Sportsbook)
Back Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) to win @ 8/5 (Sportsbook)