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Gut Feeling: Staff Picks For Cowboys-Chargers


The Cowboys are trying to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 2010. To do that, they'll need to stop the Chargers, who beat Washington in Week 1.

The Cowboys have had all sorts of injuries and other hurdles this week, but they'll still have plenty of talent on the field at SoFi Stadium.

The staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 2 matchup between the Chargers and Cowboys.

Rob Phillips: The Cowboys' issues on defense are well documented heading into Sunday: No DeMarcus Lawrence, probably no Randy Gregory, injury questions at the safety position. And yes, Justin Herbert is on his way to becoming one of the NFL's very best quarterbacks. (He might already be there.) But if there were any questions about Dak Prescott joining that group, he answered them against Tampa Bay. Sunday's matchup reminds me of the Cowboys' road trip to San Francisco in 2011: 0-1 record, west coast trip against an up-and-coming team, real danger of an 0-2 start. The Chargers have momentum. But the Cowboys have Dak, and Zack Martin is back, and this offense has some favorable matchups despite the obvious challenge of blocking Joey Bosa without La'el Collins in the lineup. This game really could go either way, but I'll take the Cowboys in a close, high-scoring battle.

David Helman: This one feels like a true tossup. Two high-powered offenses with two confident quarterbacks trying to take advantage of some banged up defenses. I really have a hard time deciding how I feel. On one hand, I really do think Dak Prescott is good enough to carry this team to an important road win, regardless of who's playing right tackle for him. But man, all these issues start to add up after a while. The Cowboys are down their starting right tackle, one of their backup right tackles, a starting receiver, two talented defensive ends and they might even be without a safety or two. Good teams can handle injuries, but that's a big ask. Ultimately, that's why I lean toward an up-and-coming Chargers team with a super impressive quarterback. I'm not convinced the Cowboys have the firepower to slow down Justin Herbert, whereas I do think Joey Bosa and Derwin James can do just enough to trip up Dak and his offense. I'm imagining a 35-31 game, and the difference is going to be that L.A. holds the Cowboys to a field goal or two, whereas the Chargers get into the end zone. A thrilling game, but a narrow Chargers win.

Kyle Youmans: I've said it on multiple occasions, that I just don't see the Cowboys starting 0-2. Some of the challenges thrown their way have been tough. No team wants to face Joey Bosa with their backup right tackle. No one is excited when they lose an elite pass rusher (maybe two) off the defensive line. But absolutely no one feels sorry for the Cowboys and they have no time to dwell on what they can't control. I think Dak Prescott rallies the troops and scores a huge road win, even in the face of adversity. Give me Dallas, 31-27.

Mickey Spagnola: With so much adversity piling up, potentially missing as many as six starters in this game, between injuries and suspensions, the Cowboys depth will rise to the occasion. And as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in his radio segment, "When Dak lines up, we have a chance to win the game." And Dak Prescott will be lining up, and the Cowboys will add their second dimension to the offense, Ezekiel Elliott coming out of his shell. And since the last time the Cowboys won a game scoring less than 30 points, that encompassing their past 15 victories and going all the way back to Game 15 of the 2018 season – 27-20 victory over Tampa Bay – the Cowboys will score 31 points against the Chargers to win by one, 31-30.

Nick Eatman: I've gone back and forth all week on this one. It wasn't until doing a little research for our Big Facts article did I decide to make my pick. I learned that of the 12 times the Cowboys have started a season on the road for two games, they go 1-1 eight different times. That tells me that usually what comes up, eventually goes down. And sometimes it's the other way around. The Chargers had a great win, but it might be hard to sustain that, even with a big crowd expected this week. And for the Cowboys, the pressure is on to avoid an 0-2 start. Now the injuries don't help matters, but I think the Cowboys still find a way. I've got more than one sack for Dorance Armstrong, a touchdown catch by Dalton Schultz and a much better game from Micah Parsons this week. I'll take the Cowboys 30-26.

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