The Dallas Cowboys will look to bounce back from an embarrassing 42–10 loss when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football. Both teams sit at 2–2 entering this pivotal Week 6 matchup.
The Cowboys were completely dismantled by the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night. Dallas turned the ball over four times and failed to get anything going offensively. Now they’ll look to rebound against a talented Chargers team coming off a bye week.
Injuries Impact Both Sides Entering Crucial MNF Matchup
Injuries will play a major role for both teams in this Monday night showdown. Standout Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been dealing with a thumb injury but is expected to start after missing the last five games. However, it remains to be seen how Prescott will perform after the long layoff.
The Chargers are getting key players back for this matchup. Running back Austin Ekeler is expected to return after missing time with an ankle injury. Ekeler finished second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season with 1,558. Star pass rusher Joey Bosa is also slated to return from a groin injury that has sidelined him since Week 3. Bosa’s presence could spell trouble for a Dallas offensive line that has already given up 14 sacks this year.
Chargers Seeking Statement Win at Home
At 2–2, the Chargers have an opportunity to score a signature victory at home against “America’s Team.” After an uplifting 30–28 win over the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, Los Angeles is feeling confident heading into this Monday night affair.
Quarterback Justin Herbert is playing at an elite level once again, ranking top five in completion percentage (71.2%), passing yards (1,250) and passer rating (102.0). With weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Gerald Everett at his disposal, Herbert should be able to exploit a burnable Cowboys secondary.
Meanwhile, the Chargers’ defense has dramatically improved with the addition of Khalil Mack. The three-time All-Pro has six sacks in four games thus far. He’ll team up with Bosa to bring relentless pressure on Prescott. If the Chargers’ dangerous pass rush can force Prescott into mistakes, L.A. could come away with an impressive home win on Monday night.
Cowboys Seek Offensive Rebound After Nightmare Showing
The Cowboys are looking to quickly erase the memory of their horrific offensive showing against the 49ers last week. Dallas managed just 282 total yards and went 0-for-3 in the red zone. It was an uncharacteristically poor performance from a unit averaging over 380 yards per game this season.
Getting Prescott back under center will provide a boost, but the two-time Pro Bowler may display some rust after missing more than a month of action. Luckily he has one of the NFL’s premier receivers to rely on in CeeDee Lamb. The third year wideout leads Dallas with 21 catches for 309 yards along with two touchdowns.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard form one of the league’s most potent running back tandems, but the duo has been held in check this season besides a dominant Week 2 showing against the Bengals. If the Cowboys can re-establish their ground game, it will take pressure off Prescott as he works his way back into form.
Cowboys Defense Facing Stiff Test
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys defense has its work cut out against a loaded Chargers offense. Dallas ranks fifth in scoring defense (14.5 PPG) but now faces a Los Angeles unit averaging nearly 27 points per contest.
Herbert’s aerial assault will challenge a Cowboys secondary that has exceeded expectations so far. Veteran cornerback Trevon Diggs has continued his ball-hawking ways with three interceptions in five games. But Herbert has the arm talent to exploit any slight mistakes from the Dallas defensive backs.
Linebacker Micah Parsons is playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level with four sacks already. He’ll be charged with disrupting Herbert’s timing and slowing down the Chargers’ passing attack. If the Cowboys defense can hold Los Angeles under 25 points, it will give their offense a great chance to leave LA with a much-needed road win.
What the Experts Are Saying Ahead of Cowboys-Chargers
According to CBS Sports NFL analyst Pete Prisco, “This is a game the Cowboys need to have. They can’t afford to lose two straight and fall further behind in the race for the top spot in the NFC East. Dak Prescott’s return gives them a lift on offense, but it’s the defense that will decide this game. If Micah Parsons can wreck the game up front, the Cowboys will get back on track.”
SportsLine’s advanced computer model predicts a close game. The model projects 27 total points for the Chargers and 26 points for the Cowboys. It has Los Angeles as a slim 105 favorite with a money line of -127. Dallas’ money line sits at +102. The computer model predicts the total will stay Under 51 as both defenses keep the opposing offenses in check.
The Bottom Line
This figures to be one of the most tightly contested games of Week 6. Both teams are hungry for a win to build momentum moving forward in the 2022 season. The Cowboys are out to prove that their blowout loss to the 49ers was an aberration. But the Chargers are an extremely tough out playing at home under the bright lights.
In the end, Los Angeles seems to have more stability at quarterback heading into this matchup with Justin Herbert firing on all cylinders. The Cowboys will need Dak Prescott to quickly shake off the rust after his lengthy absence. Meanwhile, Joey Bosa’s return on defense gives the Chargers a difference-making player up front that Dallas may struggle to contain.
Look for Herbert and the Chargers to make one or two more plays late to come away with a thrilling victory on Monday night. But with both teams evenly matched, expect this matchup to go down to the wire.