Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders: Sunday Night Smashup

The Cowboys offensive line needs to be the difference makers in their game against the Raiders. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
The Cowboys offensive line needs to be the difference maker in their game against the Raiders.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
Dallas Cowboys vs Oakland Raiders
Sunday – December 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Oakland Coliseum – Oakland – California

Records Before the Game
Dallas Cowboys (7-6, 4-2 Away)
Oakland Raiders (6-7, 4-3 Home)

Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
WR Michael Crabtree – Amari Cooper is already ruled out of this game, so it looks like the Cowboys might be in for a solid matchup of Chidobe Awuzie against Michael Crabtree. Or the Cowboys could volunteer a member of the secondary to get into a fist fight with him, and take our chances in what the Raiders can play with after that.

Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
DE Taco Charlton – Maliek Collins is coming into this game with a foot injury, and David Irving is out. At this point, everyone’s got scrapes and bruises, but those player’s production need to be supplemented, and the rookie needs to take a step here. Charlton has had a steady increase of playing opportunity and has started making more tackles and affecting the quarterback in positive ways for his side of the ball. Tyrone Crawford is going to likely kick inside more this game, giving Charlton room on the outside. Donald Penn isn’t an easy wall to crack and Marshall Newhouse isn’t bad on that side either, especially given that Taco is a rookie.

Which group will give the Cowboys trouble?
The Oakland Running Backs – This almost doesn’t even include Marshawn Lynch because he’s seemingly a hood ornament for the Raiders, and I mean that in every way that can be absorbed. Lynch does garner the respect of what he’s got left in the tank, but it’s another back on the team that needs to be accounted for. DeAndre Washington, (folks around here might remember him out of Texas Tech) he’s a runner, but can be crippling as a pass catcher swinging from the backfield.

Which group will give the Raiders trouble?
The Dallas Running Backs – Alfred Morris has clearly found his groove again, and with him handling the ground work, and Dak Prescott and the coaching staff’s confidence in Rod Smith’s ability catching, so much so, that they’ve put him along the line in empty-back sets. We’ve only got this game left until we get Ezekiel Elliott back on the field, and though it’s been tough sledding, and the difference is visually taste-able at times, these two backs have really kept this team afloat.

What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Control the line of scrimmage, limit both Crabtree and Lynch, and force Derek Carr to throw towards the deep end of the depth chart.

Dallas 31 – Oakland 24