Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0)
When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m.
where: Sophie Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS (Chapter 2); 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM/94.3 FM (Spanish); Sirius 82
Line: Chargers 3½ points
Notable injury designations: Chargers: RT Brian Bulaga (back; injured reserve), CB Chris Harris Jr (shoulder; outside), S Nasser Ederle (waist; doubtful), DT Justin Jones (calf; doubtful)
Cowboys: DE DeMarcus Lawrence (leg; injured reserve), S Demonte Kazi (thigh; suspect), S Donovan Wilson (groin; suspect), Oti Ty Nseke (ill, out)
what’s at stake? The Chargers have an opportunity to show that they have one of the best offenses in the NFL if they can keep pace with Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Last week, the Chargers didn’t light up the scoreboard, but Justin Herbert and his playmates covered a total of 424 yards against Washington. Herbert separated Washington’s defense with an intermediate throw to move the chains and hit the clock. Look for Herbert to stretch the field against a suspicious Cowboys defense.
who’s better? This matchup was likely to be a back-and-forth shootout, but injuries to the main starters to the Cowboys could have hamstrung them. Chargers edge rusher Joy Bossa will probably feast on backup offensive tackle Terence Steele, who is expected to start with the right tackle as L’El Collins was suspended five games for missing seven drug tests. The Cowboys could also struggle to put pressure on Herbert as defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence broke his leg in practice this week.
The Chargers have most of their key players available and have the luxury of playing at home, apart from dealing with Brian Bulaga and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The Cowboys were supposed to start the season in Tampa Bay and are now on the other side of the country for a second week.
Matchups to watch: Cowboys wide receiver CD Lamb vs Chargers rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr Lamb will play out frequently due to an injury to Michael Gallup. Prescott would probably throw in Samuel’s direction frequently to see what the rookie could do against his top playwrights. Samuel got off to a rocky start, but he remained strong in the win against Washington.
Chargers win if:… His offense ends the long drive with touchdowns instead of field goals. Herbert and offense reached an opening-drive touchdown last week against Washington, but were also forced to settle for two field goals and two red-zone turnovers. The Chargers did not find the end zone again until the fourth quarter when Herbert paired with Mike Williams for the final winning score. The Chargers need to score more than 20 points to beat the Cowboys.
Fantasy Sleeper: Chargers tight end Jared Cook is likely to get more goals this week as the crowd at Dallas Pass is not as good as Washington’s. Cook and the other Chargers were asked to help on the offensive line against Chase Young and Montez Sweat last week. With a game of chemistry, hopefully Herbert will see more in Cook’s direction in Week 2. Cook scored eight goals, five catches and 56 yards last week.
Prediction: Herbert and the Chargers won’t need a return drive in the fourth quarter like last week. The Chargers will score early to take the lead against the Cowboys. Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will bounce late, but it won’t be enough against Darwin James and Bossa. The Chargers won the home opener 34-24.