Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackThe Raiders have discovered some real hope at the quarterback position this year as both Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin have had excellent moments. Of the two, McGloin may be the better passer, while Pryor has the more finished game. Don’t be surprised to see the Raiders go with McGloin so they can get their passing game going against the vulnerable Cowboys defense.Tony Romo is usually successful in his November home games, and if the Cowboys are going to have a decent chance to play winning postseason football, it would not be advisable to lose a Thanksgiving Day home game to the Raiders. If Romo has a sharp day, the Cowboys should have a chance to open a sizable lead and cruise in this game.
- OffenseThe Raiders would be in a much better position if they had a dependable running game to help their promising but unproven quarterbacks. Darren McFadden can’t seem to get or stay healthy, and that’s an issue. Wide receivers Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are both decent receivers who have a chance to get better, but neither one is a future star.The Cowboys would like to get their running attack going with DeMarco Murray, but Oakland is much tougher against the run than it is against the pass. As usual, the Cowboys are going to try to establish Dez Bryant early in the game and it doesn’t seem likely that the Raiders can slow him down. Jason Witten remains an excellent pass-catching tight, while Terrance Williams is a solid complementary receiver.
- DefenseThe Raiders play hard on defense, but they struggle to contain top receivers. They are going to be put to the test by Bryant throughout the game. Hard-hitting middle linebacker Nick Roach has become the best player on the Raiders defense, Free safety Charles Woodson gives the defense stability and leadership, but his lack of speed is a liability.The Cowboys have simply been awful defensively, as they not only give up more yards than any other team, they also give up big plays at key moments. If linebacker DeMarcus Ware can start to regain his form, they have a chance to improve and confuse the Raiders’ young quarterbacks. Sean Lee (hamstring) missed the Cowboys’ Week 12 game with the Giants, but he could be back for this game.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have had problems with their special teams coverage units and that could be a problem because the Cowboys are as good as any team when it comes to exploiting special teams weaknesses. Sebastian Janikowski has not enjoyed his best year and Marquette King is an ordinary punter.The Cowboys are one to f the league’s top teams at punt and kickoff coverage, but Dwayne Harris’s hamstring injury hurts their ability to make long returns. Dan Bailey has been very accurate in his placekicking and Chris Jones excels at dropping his punts inside the opponents’ 20.
The Cowboys have no excuses and can’t let this game slip through their fingers at home against an opponent they should be able to dominate.