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5 Keys to Thanksgiving game for Raiders against Cowboys

Here are the keys to victory in Dallas on Thursday

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
Dak Prescott
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are back at it on a short week on Thursday when they visit the Dallas Cowboys for Thanksgiving, as they try to snap a three-game losing streak.

Here are five keys to victory for Las Vegas.

Stop Zeke:
In Week 11, Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon wore down the Las Vegas defense. Mixon had 123 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. That might be the blueprint the Cowboys try to use on Thursday, especially with wide receiver Amari Cooper out (COVID-19) and fellow wide out CeeDee Lamb (concussion protocol) possibly out as well. However, there may be some home for Lamb. Dallas may try to ride standout tailback Ekeziel Elliott to a victory, However, he hasn’t been overly effective lately. In the past five games his highest yardage total is 69 yards.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Schultz
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Contain Dalton Schultz:
The Raiders have had some problems covering tight ends this season and Schultz may have a big role in this game with Cooper out, and Lamb maybe out as well. Schultz can stretch the field and make big plays. He had had six catches for 53 yards against the Chiefs. He is someone Raiders’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley must key on in this game.

Hold onto the ball:
A major theme in the Raiders’ current three-game losing skid has been losing the turnover battle. Las Vegas enjoyed excellent ball security while jumping out to a 5-2 record, but it has been sloppy of late. They’ve had multiple turnovers in each of the past three games and quarterback Derek Carr has committed six turnovers himself in the past three games. Against a Dallas defense that linebacker Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs, Las Vegas has to be extremely careful this ugly trend doesn’t continue.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Bryan Edwards
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Find the receivers:
The Raiders are clearly missing Henry Ruggs III in the offense. They haven’t won since he was released and the offense is in a funk. Their starting receivers Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards are doing very little, they each have a total of three catches in the past three games. Yes, Carr’s success starts with tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs, but the wide outs have to do something against the Cowboys.

Finally figure it out on third down:
There is no magical answer here. The Raiders simply need to find a way to extend drives on offense. They have converted one third down in each of the past two games are a ridiculous 2-for-16 on third down in that time span. It’s pathetic and Carr can’t extend drives, this will likely be another Raiders’ loss.