The Los Angeles Chargers’ home crowd could be outnumbered by a large travelling contingent of Dallas Cowboys fans in this week’s Monday Night Football matchup at SoFi Stadium, which kicks off at 01:15 Tuesday morning UK time.
The Cowboys will be desperate to put last week’s 42-10 humbling at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers behind them as they return to the West Coast to take on a Chargers team that had won back-to-back games before their Week 5 bye.
Dallas’ former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has been getting plenty of credit for Los Angeles’ successful pass attack and he could have a few tricks up his sleeve for this clash.
The hosts should be boosted by the return of top running back Austin Ekeler from an ankle injury. He rushed for 117 yards on 16 carries against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 but has been sidelined ever since.
With receiver Mike Williams out for the season with an ACL tear, Ekeler will also be a big help for the Chargers’ passing offense.
Quarterback Herbert has been nursing an injury on his non-throwing hand, having fractured a finger in the Week 4 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, but his performance should not be affected.
Donald Parham, the Chargers’ red zone specialist tight end, left the field in the second quarter against the Raiders with a sprained wrist and may not be at 100 percent by game time.
On the other side of the ball, pass rusher Joey Bosa remains questionable with a hamstring injury, but strong safety Derwin James Jr. is expected back.
Dallas suffered a string of injuries in the defeat to San Francisco and sickness has subsequently hit the Cowboys’ locker room with backup guard Chuma Edoga and starting NT Johnathan Hankins both missing Friday’s practice through illness.
Safety Juanyeh Thomas is set to miss out with a hamstring injury and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch seems set for a stint on injured reserve with a neck problem.
But wide receiver Kavontae Turpin, Dallas’ lone TD scorer from Week, has shaken off a high ankle sprain while RB Tony Pollard and DT Neville Gallimore should overcome shoulder and knee issues respectively.
Over 50.5 points @ 20/21
Dallas’ misfiring offense receives a favourable matchup here against a Chargers defense that’s giving up an average of over 400 yards per game.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is completing a high ratio of his short-range passes, but has been failing to connect with enough deep shots to really punish opponents.
Dallas could rectify that by targeting WR CeeDee Lamb, who has been getting open just as much as ever, or offseason recruit Brandin Cooks, who has had an underwhelming start.
However, a Cowboys’ defense that had been highly regarded after shutting down three of the least successful quarterbacks in the league for their three wins this season, got shown up big-time by the Niners last week.
And with Moore calling the plays, the Chargers will pose a significant enough threat to push the total points above the half century.
Gerald Everett anytime TD scorer @ 13/5
Chargers tight end Everett has been a one-in-four TD scorer across the past two seasons, but has yet to get into the end zone four games into this campaign. He should play a bigger role this week after seeing a dramatic increase in his snap count after Parham’s injury against the Raiders.
Everett finished in the top-10 of the league last year for targets and catches while he ranks 12th in TE efficiency this season, despite running just 71 routes. He can break his touchdown duck against a team that allowed San Francisco’s George Kittle in for three scores last Sunday.