Today we give thanks for many things. One of them is football. There are three games on tap today and the middle game has the Raiders and Cowboys squaring off. The Cowboys play every Thanksgiving. It's tradition. The Lions do as well. But the Raiders rarely hit the field on turkey day.
Who: Oakland Raiders (4-7) vs Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
When: 1:30pm Pacific Time
Radio: 95.7 The Game (Bay Area)
Online: NFL Game Rewind
The Raiders are coming off a tough loss to the Titans in which they had the lead with just over six minutes remaining only to give up a long drive and touchdown to lose it in the final seconds.
It was an especially tough loss because a win would have put them firmly in the sixth and final playoff spot. The loss means they are now sitting behind six other teams and would quite possibly have to win out the season to have a shot at the playoffs.
The offense wasn't great but it was the best unit on the field for the Raiders, getting them in scoring position seven times in the game including one touchdown.
Dennis Allen said the performance earned Matt McGloin another start.
Both Mychal Rivera and Mike Jenkins left the game with concussions. Rivera's appeared to be the worst of the two after a brutal helmet to helmet hit from Titans' safety, Michael Griffin. The hit earned Griffin a one-game suspension for being a repeat offender.
Rivera and Jenkins both have passed their concussion test as part of the protocol and are expected to play.
Returning this week are Darren McFadden and Jared Veldheer.
Veldheer has been activated from partial season injured reserve and McFadden is coming off a hamstring strain that had him out since week 7.
Neither Veldheer nor McFadden are expected to start right away. Although Veldheer is expected to play extensive minutes in which case Khalif Barnes would likely shift inside to left guard.
Rashad Jennings will start again at running back. In fact, Jennings has far outplayed McFadden this season and McFadden may have now found himself out of a job.
The Cowboys will be without their starting middle linebacker, Sean Lee, as well as starting cornerback Morris Claiborne. Sean Lee is a huge loss for the Cowboys as he was on pace for an All Pro type season before his injury. Claiborne is the guy who took Mike Jenkins starting job in Dallas prior to last season.
For more information and insight into what to expect from the Cowboys today, see my Five Good Questions with David Halprin from Blogging with the Boys.
The Cowboys are heavily favored to win this game (9.5). The Raiders had a lot of trouble with Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. Tony Romo is a much bigger threat. He also has one of the best receivers in the game in Dez Bryant to throw to.
All the while the Raiders have upstart undrafted rookie, Matt McGloin, without top receiver Denarius Moore. Rod Streater will be the number one receiver for the Raiders with Andre Holmes again starting across from him.
Keep an eye on Sebastian Janikowski in this game. He missed two field goals against the Titans that at least partially cost the Raiders the game. He initially said it was the hold and later said it was his mechanics. The Raiders can't afford to come away with no points after moving into scoring position against any team, let alone the Cowboys.