On Deck: Chargers - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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On Deck: Chargers



    On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2013 season.

    The Opponent: The Chargers have actually played better than their 1-2 record says. They were a late collapse away from embarrassing the Houston Texans in their season opener, and erratic, fiery quarterback Philip Rivers is off to the kind of start that makes you utter the words "career year."

    Past Meeting: The Chargers beat the Cowboys 20-17 late in the 2009 season — the last year the Cowboys won a playoff game.

    Key Matchup:DAL defensive line vs. SD QB Philip Rivers: The Cowboys defensive line has put some surprisingly big-time pressure on opposing QBs so far this year and wreaked havoc on Sam Bradford last week after he'd gone the first two weeks without being sacked, dropping him six times. Rivers is not mobile and can let his emotions get the best of him from time to time. Getting to him early and often would be huge for Dallas' defense.

    What's Hot: The Cowboys ran the ball early and often on Sunday against St. Louis, and of course, DeMarco Murray was the main beneficiary. The third-year running back rushed for 175 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and a touchdown and was also effective in the passing game.

    Rivers is having a great year, so far, for the Chargers. Last week in the Chargers' heartbreaking loss to Tennessee, he completed 20 of his 24 pass attempts with a touchdown. He's been highly effective so far but is always prone to the meltdown, and that's what the Cowboys must try induce.

    What's Not: It didn't take long for Miles Austin to have his annual hamstring injury, as he left early in Sunday's game. Since his season-opening game against the Giants when he led the team in receptions, he hasn't done much.

    Ryan Mathews, the Chargers' primary rushing threat, averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last week against the Titans — a solid run defense. The Cowboys' run defense has been pretty stellar so far this season led by Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. Losing Anthony Spencer for the year is a blow to the Cowboys' run defense, but they haven't played with him this year and will have to just continue to do so.