Dallas Cowboys' Playoff Hopes Are On The Line Against LA Chargers

Playoffs for the Dallas Cowboys might turn into a distant memory for with a loss today against the Los Angeles Chargers. Winning will be a difficult task for the Cowboys, who has struggled in their recent two games versus the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys have played poorly on both offense and defense. The Cowboys' offensive woes have two culprits, and one of those issues is the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott.

After fighting by using his ability to appeal Ezekiel Elliott opted not to appeal (courtesy of Dallas Morning News Sportsday) the courts most recent decision to maintain his six-game ban. The timing of Elliott's choice hurts the Dallas Cowboys, just as much as the suspension itself.

During the totality of Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, the Cowboys will have endured their most difficult portion of their schedule. The Cowboys needed Elliott against the Falcons and Eagles. The Cowboys sorely need him when they face the Los Angeles Chargers.

That is because the Chargers boast one of the NFL's best pass-rushing units led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The good news for the Cowboys is that they will get back left tackle Tyron Smith to help protect quarterback Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott attempts a pass.
Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Dak Prescott needs time to throw the football. The return of Tyron Smith will help. [Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]

Tyron Smith, the Cowboys' All-Pro left tackle, has missed the last couple of games with a groin injury. Smith's return to the Cowboys' lineup (courtesy of the Star Telegraph) is good news for Dallas and Dak Prescott. Prescott has not had much time to throw the football in Tyron Smith's absence, and poor play by the offensive line has been the reason.

The Dallas Cowboys' quarterback was harassed by the Atlanta Falcons' defense early and often during their first game without Tyron Smith. Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn sacked Dak Prescott six times, according to Bleacher Report. Coincidentally, Smith was hurt during the same time Ezekiel Elliott began serving his suspension.

For the Cowboys, having Tyron Smith back to help fend off Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is ideal. Bosa, who leads the Los Angeles Chargers with 10.5 sacks, knows that facing the Cowboys' left tackle (courtesy of the Star Telegraph) will be difficult.

"Just look at the man. He's like a cartoon character, a freaking test-tube baby. It's unbelievable the size of him. You just look at him from the beginning, he's got athleticism and size. Just the way he is athletically you'd think he'd be a big mauler, but he really isn't."

The Dallas Cowboys need Tyron Smith to be at his best in order to have a chance against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Cowboys are 5-5 coming into the Chargers' game. They are not out of the playoff picture just yet, however, the Cowboys can ill-afford their third consecutive loss. It starts with the Cowboys' offense.

On defense, the Dallas Cowboys have to slow down the Chargers' trio of Phillip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, and Keenan Allen. Playing without Sean Lee does not help the Cowboys with this task. If the Cowboys can put touchdowns on the board, versus field goals, while controlling the line of scrimmage, it will ease the burdens of their defense.

This is a pivotal football game for the Dallas Cowboys, who are already on the outside looking in on the NFC playoff race. The Cowboys are not far behind the last playoff spot, but a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers would be devastating to their hopes. From this point until the end of the NFL season, every game for the Dallas Cowboys is a playoff game.

[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]