Season Opener News & Notes

News and notes headed towards Sunday's game in San Diego.

* Dallas and San Diego have opened the season against each other one other time, with the Cowboys claiming a 17-14 win in Dallas on Sept. 9, 1990.

* Four of the seven games played between these two teams have been decided by six points or less.

* The Cowboys are 3-1 in games played in San Diego.

* A victory would increase the Cowboys series advantage to 6-2, including a 4-1 record in San Diego.

* A victory would also improve the Cowboys NFC best opening day record to 31-14-1.

* Dallas is trying to open the season with a victory for the first time since 1999, snapping a five-game losing streak in season openers and snap a three-game losing streak to AFC teams.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're playing a very good team this week. Anybody who watches football last year knows they're good. But that represents a very good opportunity for us. It really does. I think somehow, if we're able to pull that off, I think it will go a long way for our confidence. I look at it as a great opportunity and hopefully we'll be at our best when we get there. I don't think it's going to be perfect, but we'll just try to get them in position. I've got some young, eager guys who are willing to play harder than somebody else sometimes." * Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

GAME PLAN: The Cowboys and Chargers play similar styles because their coaches have similar philosophies. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells will try to establish the ground game on offense with Julius Jones. Because it will be hard to run on the Chargers defense, Drew Bledsoe must make a few plays in the passing game. Defensively, they have to contain running back LaDainian Tomlinson and force Drew Brees to beat them without his favorite target, tight end Antonio Gates.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Chargers NT Jamal Williams vs. Cowboys C Al Johnson - Williams is the key to the Chargers' strong run defense. He is tough to move out the middle. Johnson doesn't have the size to handle Williams all game. The Cowboys will rotate in Andre Gurode at center in hopes of getting movement against Williams.

Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Cowboys run defense - Tomlinson is simply the best running back in the league. He will be tough to stop for a Cowboys defense that is playing the 3-4 for the first time and is relying on a lot of rookies. Growing pains are expected by the Cowboys but they must not have too much trouble in the their run defense or they will get run over by Tomlinson.

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