On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys head to Oakland to take on the erratic Raiders. What’s usually a preseason matchup will be a regular season contest where two teams are trying to fight for their playoff lives. The visiting Cowboys are positioned better for a playoff opportunity and hope that they can defeat the Raiders in the last week of Elliott’s suspension. For the Raiders, their loss last week dropped them back in the AFC West division hunt and the AFC Wild Card race. A loss for either team this week will end any playoff hopes. Kickoff inside Oakland Alameda Coliseum is at 8:30 PM ET.
The last time the Raiders hosted the Cowboys in a regular season matchup was back in 2005. These two teams played twice more in the regular season since then, with Dallas winning both matchups. Their last regular season contest came back in 2013.
Dallas (7-6) is 4-2 on the road and comes into this matchup having won 2 straight games. Both games were against NFC East divisional foes, but the Cowboys won convincingly both times. In fact, they look like a different team since their 28-6 defeat on Thanksgiving at the hands of the Chargers. So far, Dallas is 1-2 against the AFC West this year. If Dallas can win, they will get Zeke back with 2 games remaining and a small shot at one of the NFC Wild Card spots.
Oakland (6-7) is 4-3 at home and have won their last 2 home games. Unfortunately, their loss at Kansas City significantly hurt their playoff chances, especially since they don’t hold any tiebreakers with the teams that are 1 game ahead of them in the Wild Card race. Oakland will pretty much be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss this weekend. Can the Raiders play with enough desperation to upset the Cowboys?
The spread opened with the Raiders getting 1.5 points at home. It’s now sitting at +3 for the Raiders. The Over/Under opened at 45 points and has gone up to 46 total points.
As of this week, the Cowboys look like the better team. They have rebounded nicely and are positioning themselves in the race for a Wild Card spot. For that to happen, they will need to win their remaining games, which starts this weekend against the Raiders.
Over the last 2 weeks, Dallas has turned it around with a more proficient running game and solid defense. It starts with Alfred Morris rushing for nearly 200 yards and a TD over those two games. The Cowboys will need to get him going if they want to win this week. Oakland gives up 109.5 rushing ypg and that means Dallas will have chances to break off some solid yards on the ground this weekend.
Defensively, Dallas has played solid football these last two weeks. They’ve allowed roughly 302 ypg, 12ppg, and forced 3 turnovers per game. So, it’s no surprise that they won both of those games. I believe Dallas can have another solid outing this weekend on the defensive side of the ball.
Oakland has an anemic running game that averages 91.5 ypg. Last weekend, the Raiders could only muster up 70 rushing yards against the Chiefs who allow 124 ypg on the ground. This weekend, Oakland will have a tougher time against a Dallas rush defense that allows 107 ypg on the season, but has held opponents to less than that these past 2 weeks. I don’t see Oakland getting to the 107 mark and, once again, the onus of this game will fall on the shoulders of Raiders QB Carr.
Unfortunately, Carr has had a tough few games. Over the last 2 weeks, he has averaged 250 passing ypg, 1 TD and 1 INT per game. These are hardly numbers that can lead a team to the playoffs. And this weekend, they won’t lead his team to victory.
With the struggles on offense for the Raiders, an Oakland defense that gives up over 23 ppg, and a resurging Cowboys team, I see Dallas going into Oak-Town and winning this game outright. Look for Dallas to establish their authority early by running the ball with Alfred Morris. This will soften the Raiders defense and open them up to play action. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will have strong showings this weekend against an inconsistent Raiders defense. As long as QB Dak Prescott doesn’t turn the ball over, Dallas should win the game by double digits: Cowboys 27 – Raiders 17.
Dallas is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, 6-3 ATS this season as a favorite, and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games played on a grass field. Oakland is 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 home games, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against NFC opponents.