Dallas (-2) at San Diego

Intelligence Index: Dallas No. 6 (+6.01); San Diego No. 10 (+3.6)

We might call this game the Reform School Bowl. Both the Cowboys and Chargers have been among the most habitually stupid teams in football in recent years, the biggest reason why each club, so often considered talent, each underachieved season after season.

Both teams are playing much more smartly and efficiently here in the early going of 2013. The Chargers are just 1-2 and the Cowboys 201, but they’re undefeated against the spread: a combined 5-0-1.

San Diego is one late Jake Locker TD pass away from being 2-1 SU and a perfect 3-0 ATS .

With that said, these two teams possess dramatically different statistical profiles so far this season.

Dallas is steady and solid up and down the line with a few strengths and few weaknesses. It’s greatest strength, in fact, has been its efficiency on both sides of the ball and, of course, the play of Tony Romo, who currently has the Cowboys at No. 5 in Offensive Passer Rating, a very solid 103.9.

The Cowboys are also stout defensively up front: No. 1 in Defensive Rusher Rating and No. 2 on the Defensive Hog Index.

San Diego, meanwhile, is a bipolar team, like so many Chargers teams fast: prolific on offense, pathetic on defense. It’s amazing how this institutional character has stuck with the Chargers year after year, decade after decade, through one coaching regime to the next.

Philip Rivers has San Diego poised at No. 2 in Real QB Rating and No.3 in Offensive Passer Rating. Conversely, the team can’t stop anybody:

  • No. 32 on Defensive Real QB Rating
  • No. 32 in Total Team Yards Allowed
  • No. 32 in Total Team Yards Differential
  • No. 32 on the Defensive Hog Index

It adds up to too many holes for Romo and the productive Dallas offense (No. 5 in scoring) to exploit on Sunday.

Pick: Dallas 30, San Diego 24