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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys Point Spread - Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (4-6 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017 at 4:30PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LAC pk/DAL pk
Over/Under Total: 48

The Los Angeles Chargers come to AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday in week 12 action from Arlington. The Chargers are just 4-6, but really got after it on Sunday in a 54-24 hammering of the visiting Buffalo Bills. The offense did some good things and had a lot of production, with the defense making a ton of plays, including the securing of six turnovers. They now face a tough turnaround in a cross-conference road game on the short week. Dallas, however is coming off an even shorter week, following a 37-9 pounding at the hands of the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. After taking a 9-7 first-half lead, the Cowboys melted in the second half and at 5-5, their margin for error is narrowing.

The Chargers were really impressive on Sunday, seeing both the offense and the defense shine on the same day, something that hasn't happened much this season. A team that usually flexes a big offense with a defense that is hanging on for dear life, the roles have been reversed this season. The offense has been inconsistent, while the "D" has stepped up. The Chargers really looked out of it a few weeks ago, but with the Chiefs and Raiders both losing lately; the Chargers are sort of in the mix, even at just 4-6. Things could really be different if they didn't find a way to lose several games that could have easily been wins. Still, with all the issues, they have something to play for now heading into the final six games of the season.

On Sunday, the Chargers' offense was pretty sharp, getting good production on the ground and through the air. Philip Rivers threw for two touchdowns on 251 yards with no picks. Melvin Gordon had a good game on the ground with 80 yards and a TD, while Austin Ekeler added some useful runs. Aerially, Keenan Allen had a game that reminded onlookers why he is such a potentially-explosive piece of this offense with 12 catches for 159 yards and two touchdown grabs. Rookie Mike Williams, trying to work himself back in the fold after missing the first chunk of the season, had five grabs. What made it so easy for the offense on Sunday beyond just another subpar effort from the Bills' "D" was how the Chargers' defense netted six turnovers, setting the Chargers up with good position and even scoring a TD.

Two fourth quarter touchdowns from the Bills made it look like they were more successful than they really were. For much of the game, the Chargers had the Bills offense in knots. They chased off new Buffalo starter Nathan Peterman, who threw five picks. Casey Hayward picked off two of them, with Tre Boston and Trevor Williams also getting picks, while LB Korey Toomer took one back for a TD. We see a Chargers' secondary that is very stout this season, while also adept at making plays that change the game. Joey Bosa had another sack, with him and Melvin Ingram the top pass-rushing tandem in the league. Getting LB Denzel Perryman back off IR has already started to pay off. Their offense finally cooperated on Sunday, not wasting another good performance from a defense that has really come around this season.

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The Cowboys are in a bit of peril. Finding a running back to put up yards is one thing, but the loss of Ezekiel Elliott hurts. On Sunday, mistakes also hurt, with Dak Prescott very uncharacteristic with four turnovers, including three picks and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Compromised or not, in a game they had to win, they took a 9-7 lead into the second half and ended up losing 37-9. The Eagles are 9-1 and could be the best team in the league, so one might want to be reserved in rendering harsh judgments. Still, for them to fold like that in the second half is upsetting and further confirmation that Dallas is really going to have to grind away to stand any shot at the postseason. After seeming to right the ship with three straight wins, their losses to Atlanta and Philly in consecutive weeks have been wipeouts. And now they face a dangerous Chargers' team that they're not used to seeing.

The mistakes were too much to overcome for the Dallas offense on Sunday. Prescott didn't throw any touchdowns and only had 145 yards through the air. With the absence of Elliott, Prescott's inability to connect with a good receiving crew over the last few weeks has been alarming. Even just in the stat of Dez Bryant catching 8 passes on Sunday for just 63 yards says a lot. One source of optimism was Alfred Morris' 91-yard performance on 17 carries. Still, with Elliott maybe the best back in the business, not having him has to hurt.

The Dallas defense was pretty good for one half on Sunday, holding the highest-scoring offense in the NFL to a lone touchdown. But it didn't take long for the Philly offense to take over the second half. Wentz started connecting aerially, along with a big run-game that soon had Dallas hanging on. They had no turnovers on the day and no sacks. What is so disconcerting is they had been showing marked improvement in the previous three weeks of play. In the past two weeks, however, they appear to be a unit that is receding.

It would be understandable if some greater urgency resonated this week at home for the Cowboys, something that apparently didn't register as they crumbled like a house of cards in the second half in a must-win spot in their last game. But something tells me they have their hands full on Thanksgiving with a Chargers' team that has been playing really good defense and is showing signs of upgrading their play on the other side of the ball. I like the Bolts to win this week on Thanksgiving.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Los Angeles Chargers in a pick 'em. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Chargers vs. Cowboys game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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