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Keys to Victory

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Keys To Victory: Cowboys Must Get Back To Basics


The Cowboys have not fared well against the AFC West so far this year, sitting at just 1-2 in the three games this year, including last week's 19-9 loss to the Chiefs.

On Thursday, the Cowboys will play their final AFC opponent of the regular season in the Raiders, who have lost three straight games.

Here's a look at the keys to victory for both the Raiders and Cowboys.

The Raiders will win if…

The Raiders will need Derek Carr and Co. to control the game from the jump to put the Cowboys on their heels. The Raiders' offense must play from ahead by relying on a mix of runs and passes to put up points early and often. Expect Greg Olsen to put the ball in the hands of Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards in the opening quarter to set the tone while enabling the Raiders to unleash a pass rush that could feast on the Cowboys' short-handed offensive line. With Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby capable of creating chaos off the edges, the Raiders' best chance for victory is all about starting fast and letting the closers (pass rushers) finish the game.

The Cowboys will win if…

The Cowboys need to get back to basics to get back into the win column on Turkey Day. The offense needs to play with the balance that makes it one of the most feared units in football with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard complementing a dynamic aerial attack fueled by Dak Prescott's efficient play from the pocket. The offensive line must handle the Raiders' trench warriors to enable Kellen Moore to call a game that features 50-50 mix of runs and passes that keeps Raiders' defensive coordinator Gus Bradley from dictating the terms with his calls. Defensively, Dan Quinn must find a way to disrupt Derek Carr's rhythm early in the game. From bringing a few pressures off the edges to utilizing some bluff tactics to force the veteran to pause before throwing the ball around the yard. Given the veteran's recent propensity for making mistakes, the Cowboys need to make Carr prove that he can put the Raiders' offense on his shoulders in key moments.

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