I fall short of saying that Dallas will win the game, given that head coach Jason Garrett has yet to show that he can often string together victories that position the Cowboys to end a regular season with a record better than 8-8—at least not during any full season he's been in that position.
Long gone are the days of superstar running back LaDainian Tomlinson and pass-rusher Shawne Merriman. Both of these players are now retired, and both represent the star power that was present when the Chargers were last annual contenders in the AFC West.
Further, gone is the army of secondary players that, not that long ago, helped anchor a defense that really only had to deal with the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots for AFC supremacy. Do the names Quentin Jammer, Antonio Cromartie and Drayton Florence ring a bell?
No, this is a brand-new Chargers outfit that is in full rebuilding mode, take away the presence of franchise quarterback Philip Rivers, who is still performing at a very high level when he has an offensive line that makes that possible. New head coach Mike McCoy is close to making that happen, but not quite yet.
Rivers doesn't have the same goods surrounding him that he had upon taking over for departed quarterback Drew Brees following the 2005 regular season. In fact, things are quite different heading into Sunday's contest.
This game is no “gimme” for Dallas. The Chargers, some would argue, are just a couple of bad fourth quarters away from being 3-0—but they are 1-2 and in desperate need of a win in their second home game of the regular season.
The Cowboys are just two points away, against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City from being 3-0 themselves—but they are 2-1 and also need a victory in a serious way.
Depending on how the NFC East fares this weekend, the Cowboys could stake themselves to a two-game lead over the rival Philadelphia Eagles and possibly a three-game advantage over the winless New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
With five games still remaining against each of those division opponents as well as others against quarterbacks like Brees, now in New Orleans, Peyton Manning of Denver, Matthew Stafford of Detroit and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, wins are at a premium for Dallas, despite the fact we're still in September.
Here's five reasons, and a bonus, why the Cowboys should fly home from southern California with their third “W” of the young season. I stress that I'm not predicting a victory for Dallas, but rather illustrating why it is perfectly capable of winning on Sunday.
Once the Cowboys show that they can win at least three straight games I'll give more thought to predictions—like the Chargers, Dallas has its share of new faces in the organization as well.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com