Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Raiders CB Mike Jenkins
This will be one of those battles where both players know each other after having been teammates before. Bryant is coming off a game against the Giants where he saw an effort by Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan to get him the ball more. Bryant likes these types of matchups where he can fight an opponent all day and Jenkins will not back down. Jenkins as we all know is a press man corner that is most comfortable when he can line up tight to his man, use his hands to stab, then move in the route.
As physical as Bryant is, he is still working on having to fight press coverage but each week, he is getting better at it. As important as size is here, experience is just as big of a factor. Where Tony Romo has to be careful in this game when attacking Jenkins, is there are times where he will bait you into a throw. I have seen some games this season where he stands completely still waiting for the quarterback to open his way, then drive hard on the ball to defend it.
Where the Cowboys will take some shots against Jenkins is on some double moves to try and take advantage of his aggressiveness. I also expect Garrett and Callahan to use Bryant like they did last week in the Giants game with the "In" making Jenkins to have to chase the route to buy separation.
Cowboys Defensive Front Seven vs. Raiders RB Rashad Jennings [embedded_ad]
This is a matchup that Monte Kiffin cannot allow to get out of control. If it means walking Barry Church down in the box for the eighth guy, then he has to do that. I honestly believe that the Raiders want to run the ball and after watching the Cowboys play run defense against the Saints and Giants, on a short week, it would be real easy for them to just saddle Rashad Jennings up and hammer him at this front.
The Raiders offensive line doesn't have the big named stars that we have seen from other teams and I feel like they are better than what they faced from the Giants. Kiffin and his group are going to see plenty of movement upfront, they are going to see fullbacks, tight ends and pulling linemen in order to get Jennings going. They also are going to need to be aware of Terrelle Pryor coming into the game for some read option snaps and maybe even a "Wildcat" from Marcel Reece who normally lines up as the fullback in this offense.
If the Cowboys allow the Raiders to dictate the attack and struggle to get off blocks, it is going to be a long day. The Cowboys did do a much better job of handling the run against the Giants when they got down in the red zone but they are going to need that type of play from the opening snap in attempting to play against this physical back.