Week 4: Cowboys-Chargers matchup analysis

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Dallas Cowboys (2-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
*Keys to the game: RB DeMarco Murray, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, becomes the key to a balanced offense for the Cowboys. Teams have to pick their poison and the Chargers are in the same boat -- determining based on formation and situation whether to load the box to stop the run or peel back to keep a defender over the top of WR Dez Bryant. FS Eric Weddle is a risk-taker with 16 career interceptions, and he'll have responsibilities shading to Bryant's side, but the secondary has been under siege with quarterbacks having too much time to set -- and survey -- with no threat of pressure. San Diego is likely to use more blitzes, but QB Tony Romo can be dangerous on the move. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is getting better protection than 2012, with the use of more two-tight end sets. In a likely high-scoring affair, the Chargers have to pick their spots to attack, and prevent Rivers from falling into a hero complex that would only produce points for Dallas. San Diego's rotation at running back has been effective and Rivers has only one interception in 100 pass attempts. Dallas wants to pinch running lanes and invite Rivers to challenge tight passing windows.
*Matchup to watch - Chargers LT Mike Harris vs. Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware: Harris, expected to start for King Dunlap (concussion), produced mixed results in this role last season. Ware had two sacks last week and demands double-team blocking all game.
*Player spotlight - Chargers RB Danny Woodhead: He has 15 receptions in the past two games. If TE Antonio Gates is forced to stay in as a blocker, Woodhead becomes the intermediate zone-buster to keep the chains moving.
*Fast facts: Rivers needs three touchdown passes to join John Hadl (201) and Dan Fouts (254) as the only players in franchise history to reach 200. ... The Cowboys are 4-1 in San Diego.
The Chargers haven't made enough plays defensively and unless Tony Romo wraps a gift or two, San Diego falls to 1-3 by not coming up with enough stops.
*Our pick: Cowboys 30-19

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