IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are coming off an emotional win over the Giants Sunday but have no time to relish the victory. It's a short week heading into Thursday's Thanksgiving Day tilt with the Raiders, who played in this game just four years ago.
The Cowboys are certainly hopeful for a similar result as the Cowboys defeated Oakland that day 24-7. A win this year would put the Cowboys two games over .500 for the first time this year.
Here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, David Helman and Rowan Kavner.
David Helman:It's a little troubling to see a running game that's averaging 5.1 yards per attempt come into AT&T Stadium to face a Cowboys defense that's allowing 5.1 yards per attempt. It's likely to be a long Thanksgiving for the Cowboys' makeshift defensive line against Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden.
Fortunately, I think the Cowboys hold a significant edge in most other facets of the matchup. Oakland's passing game isn't anything to fear, and Tony Romo should be able to build on Sunday's success against the Raiders' No. 25 pass defense. I'm going to take a stab and say Cole Beasley finds the end zone in some fashion. I also think logistics will play a role – Oakland has to be at a disadvantage playing an afternoon game after a cross-country flight on three days' rest. Dallas is roughly a 10-point favorite, and I think they'll deliver on that in a 27-14 win.
Rowan Kavner:It's never happened before. The Cowboys have never this year won the following game after going a game above .500. That should change this week, despite running numbers that should leave many concerned. As poorly as the Raiders might have [embedded_ad] played in leading to a 4-7 record, they do boast a top five rushing offense and Rashad Jennings has been magnificent in Darren McFadden's stead. I see the Raiders rushing for more than 150 yards, but the Cowboys finally getting out of that .500 mold by fighting out a closer win than many expected. Barry Church comes up big by forcing a turnover, Dez Bryant continues to torch his opponent and a backup player, either James Hanna or Lance Dunbar, finds the end zone I also think Thanksgiving Day is kind to Miles Austin.
Nick Eatman: I just don't see this one being a big problem for the Cowboys. The key starts on offense. If the Cowboys score some points early in the game, then I don't think Oakland has much of a chance to get back in it. If the Raiders somehow control the tempo, and run the ball at will, then maybe this will be a tough one. It could go like Minnesota where the Vikings were able to use their strength for the entire game. But I see the Cowboys jumping out on the Raiders and getting a comfortable win. I can see a touchdown catch for Cole Beasley, two sacks for DeMarcus Ware and another defensive touchdown this week … let's give it to Barry Church. But I see the Cowboys with a 31-16 win to get to 7-5 this week.