By Dave Thomas
With only six games left in the regular season, time is of the essence for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Coming off of their most productive point output of the season in last Sunday’s 54-24 romp over Buffalo, Los Angeles (4-6) will look to make it two in a row when the meet Dallas Thursday afternoon in the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day home game.
For the Chargers, there is still a window of opportunity to win the AFC West. That said, it would take some doing for Kansas City (6-4), currently holding a two-game lead over both Los Angeles and Oakland, to completely collapse. The Chiefs also won the first meeting between them and the Chargers back in September, with the rematch set for Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 16.
The business at hand now is for the Chargers to go down to Dallas and come away with what would be a nice road win.
Dallas, fresh-off a 37-9 shellacking by the rival Philadelphia Eagles, will again be without star running back Ezekiel Elliott. He is continuing his NFL suspension over domestic violence allegations.
Los Angeles Has Some Injuries To Deal With
As the Chargers prepare for the Cowboys in what is an especially short week, some injuries continue to hound the team.
Of note, wide receiver Travis Benjamin (20 receptions, 325 yards, 3 TD’s) continues to deal with an abdomen injury. That injury leaves him as questionable to play, according to Wednesday’s team injury report. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Corey Liuget (16 total tackles) is dealing with a toe injury that also leaves him in question for Thursday’s game.
On a brighter note, starting QB Philip Rivers seems fine after voluntarily undergoing concussion protocol last week before the game with Buffalo. To date in 2017, Rivers has thrown for 2,514 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Lastly, placekicker Nick Novak has been battling a back injury, but the veteran kicker did have a full practice both Tuesday and Wednesday before the team left for Texas. The 10-year pro has connected on of 8-of-10 field goals on the season.
Chargers Have Their Playoff Fate In Front Of Them
In getting down to the home stretch of the season, the Chargers know that any slip-ups now could all but doom their playoff hopes. With that being the case, taking the old cliche of one game at a time never rang more true. If the Chargers come out of the Lone Star State with the win, the December schedule (at least to start) sets up rather nicely for them.
A pair of home games with Cleveland (Dec. 3) and Washington (Dec. 10) are certainly winnable. Los Angeles will then get a stiff road test in Kansas City on Dec. 16. That is followed by a cross-country trip to New Jersey and a date with the New York Jets on Christmas Eve. The Chargers finish the regular season Dec. 31 against Oakland in what they hope will be a meaningful game.
After playing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in front of a national TV audience, the Chargers hope to be stuffing themselves with another win.
Los Angeles reported the following injury update as of Wednesday:
- (DE) Chris McCain (Quad) – Full Practice
- (TE) Sean McGrath (Finger) – Full Practice
- (K) Nick Novak (Back) – Full Practice
- (C) Spencer Pulley (Knee) – Full Practice
- (OT) Joe Barksdale (Foot) – Full Practice
- (WR) Travis Benjamin (Abdomen) – Limited Practice
- (DT) Corey Liuget (Toe) – Limited Practice
- (T) Russell Okung (Knee) Limited Practice
- (OLB) James Onwualu (Quad) – Limited Practice
- (LB) Hayes Pullard (Neck) – Full Practice
- (WR) Mike Williams (Knee) – Limited Practice