It’s been a weird season for the Cowboys. Every time they’ve been able to go above .500, they lost the next one. This time, hosting the 4-7 Raiders, things should be different, averaging an NFC-best 34.6 points at home this season, their only loss coming against the Denver Broncos in what will become a legendary game.
Tony Romo had a fourth quarter to remember against the New York Giants; especially the final drive, leading the Cowboys 64 yards to set up a winning field goal by Dan Bailey. It followed by 90-yard drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds left in a 27-23 home win over Minnesota a bit earlier, cementing Romos’ place, despite the stigma, as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in the fourth quarter, posting a 107.1 passer rating, second among quarterbacks with at least 60 passing attempts.
The Cowboys are hoping their running game will do as well as it did against the New York Giants. They’re averaging only 79.7 yards on the ground this season, but they gained 107 in the 24-21 win over the Giants, and DeMarco Murray has been doing very well lately, averaging 5.8 yards per carry while recording 175 with a touchdown in the last two games.
How good are the Raiders in stopping the run? Not that great, allowing 122.6 yards away from home, winning only once in five games. Their only win this season away from home came against a shattered Houston team, following an eight-game losing streak away from the Coliseum. They lost on their last visit to Dallas back in 2009, also in late November, 24-7. That was the last time the Cowboys made the playoffs, so maybe there’s a hidden significance.
The Raiders can be pleased with the way they handled Chris Johnson (20 carries, 73 yards), but they did allow a 80 yards on 14 plays in 6 minutes final drive that gave the Titans the 23-19 win over Oakland. Darren McFadden coming back is good news for them, but Rashard Jennings has been doing very well lately, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and 103.3 per game in the last four.
Prediction – The Raiders can put pressure on a quarterback, but have an issue with theirs, as Matt McGloin continues to start instead of Terrelle Pryor. The Cowboys might not be the best the NFC has to offer, but it’s enough to win back-to-back games and improve to 7-5 considering their opponents.