FRISCO, Texas — An opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys to bounce back from a demoralizing loss to the San Francisco 49ers awaits back out in the state of California when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football at SoFi Stadium.
The matchup with the Chargers will give the defensive unit for the Cowboys specific issues in the passing game where Justin Herbert has been exceptional so far this season.
On the offensive side, the Chargers are giving up the most passing yards of any team in the NFL at 299.8 yards per game, which gives Dak Prescott and the offense an opportunity to finally break out of its early season slump.
Here are the three key matchups to watch on Monday night.
CeeDee Lamb vs. Asante Samuel Jr.
CeeDee Lamb was noticeably frustrated on the sideline during the loss to San Francisco as he was largely a non-factor as the game got away at Levi's Stadium. This week, there will be an expected increase in importance on getting him the ball against a Chargers defense that has largely struggled so far this season.
Matched up with him will be Asante Samuel Jr. for most of his routes, as the 2021 second-round pick continues to flourish despite his short time in the league. While the defensive options in the secondary behind Samuel are shaky, his opportunity to limit Lamb will be available.
Don't expect to see this matchup on every snap, but when lined up against each other, it'll be an opportunity for each to take advantage of a lack in production around their respective matchup's side of the ball. The question will be which one can hold court for most of the night.
Terence Steele vs. Joey Bosa/Khalil Mack
When Terence Steele was thrown into the fire as a rookie against the Chargers right back at SoFi Stadium, he came out on the other side unscathed after lining up against Joey Bosa and finding success.
This time around, it might be a little different with Bosa questionable to go as he deals with a foot injury. Whether he goes or not, Steele will still have a challenge to face in Khalil Mack who typically combines with various fellow pass rushers off each edge to throw stunts at opposing tackles.
Fresh off a six-sack effort a couple of weeks back, Steele will need to settle in to hold Mack in check. If Bosa is healthy, that challenge only doubles.
Keenan Allen vs. Jourdan Lewis
With Mike Williams out for the year due to injury, it's been the Keenan Allen show once again in Los Angeles as he enters Monday night as the Chargers' leading receiver.
Out of the slot, Allen is a physical weapon that won't blow you away with his speed, but will win an opposing matchup with death by a thousand cuts in being physical off the line in his release, fluid in route running, and a unique body control ability that gives him the advantage almost every time down the field in jump ball situations.
Jourdan Lewis will draw the task of trying to limit Allen, but it won't be easy with the disadvantage in strength. If Lewis can have his best game of the season defending Allen, the Cowboys defense will be put in a much better position to come out with the win.