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What the Raiders can expect from the Cowboys in their preseason week 3 match-up

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I caught up with Dave Halprin from SB Nation Cowboys blog Blogging the Boys to get the scoop on the team the Raiders will face tonight.

1. The nation is watching the situation with Hurricane Harvey. As I understand it, Dallas is being inundated by evacuees. What's the word from the DFW area and how might it affect the game?

As of this point, there should be no affect on the game because of Hurricane Harvey. Best wishes and prayers to those that are being affected by the storm. Next week the Cowboys have offered to host the game against the Texans if the Houston area is still being affected.

2. With the looming suspension for Ezekiel Elliott, what should we expect from him tonight?

The Cowboys will likely play Elliott for a couple of series only. Maybe something like 8-12 plays. Dallas has talked a lot about getting him more involved in the passing game, so we'll see if they throw him a few passes tonight. In general though they want to get him a quick feel for game action but that will be it, and they don't plan to play him next week.

3. Should we expect an encore performance from Dak Prescott in his second season?

So far, there is no indication that there will be a "sophomore slump" for Dak. He played very well in limited action last week and his training camp action has been universally praised. By all reports he was very diligent in his offseason work and has done everything he can to improve his game. Matching last year's statistics would be a hard thing to do, especially the TD/Int ratio, but no one expects him to take a step back. He should be right in line with last season.

4. How limited do you expect the Cowboys game plan and starter playing time in this game considering it's their fourth preseason game and they will face the Raiders during the regular season?

Usually the Cowboys play their starters close to a half in the dress rehearsal. We'll see if they follow that again this year. Jason Garrett generally runs a very generic game plan in the preseason regardless if they are playing the opposition during the season or not, so I don't think that will much effect on how they call the game. This is their fourth preseason game, but for the most part they are approaching it like they do a regular "dress rehearsal" game.

5. Give me a couple players on each side of the ball to watch and why.

Jaylon Smith on defense. He could have been a Top 10 draft pick in 2016 draft if it wasn't for the gruesome knee injury he suffered in the Notre Dame bowl game that year. He sat out all last year and played his first competitive snaps last week in a preseason game. This will be his second go around in the preseason and should get more snaps, so everyone is interested in how he will perform.

On offense, we want to see La'el Collins get tested out at right tackle. He's moving out there from the interior of the line, so far he has looked pretty good. This game should be his toughest test yet. Also, the Cowboys are trying to settle their left guard position, so some solid play there from either Jonathan Cooper or Chaz Green could help decide who will win the competition.

To see my answers to his questions, click here.