Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys kickerDan Bailey
(5) is congratulated by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Ah tradition. Since 1966 the Dallas Cowboys have played in all but two Thanksgiving Day games (coincidentally the Lions have played every Thanksgiving since 1934 when they were the Portsmouth Spartans). On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans sit down to enjoy family, food, and football. This year the Dallas Cowboys take the field against the Oakland Raiders to continue the tradition. This year, they are wearing the blue uniforms, which come with their own traditions, but we won’t even touch that here. We will have the keys to the game and this week’s song.
The Oakland Raiders have one strength this week that should scare Dallas fans, their run game. I am actually not talking about Darren McFadden, but rather Rashad Jennings. All this young man has done is put up 553 yards on 109 carries, good for 5.1 YPC. What should scare the fans is how badly we have been gashed by mediocre running backs. Matt McGloin under center instead of Terrelle Pryor should at least help, McGloin isn’t the runner that Pryor is, which means only one runner to focus on.
Sean Lee possibly making a return will help if he is in fact on the field Thursday against the run game. I do see Dallas winning. Without Lee it could be closer than I think. On Monday I was a guest on The Fitz Blitz on 89.5 KZCT out in Oakland. They asked what Dallas should do to win the game as well as what the Raiders should do to win the game. For the Raiders I said, stick to the run and double Dez Bryant. For the Cowboys to win they should:
1. Pass the ball. I know usually I say get to the run, but the Raiders are pretty good against it ranking 8th in the league. Passing defense however, they are a paltry 25th.
2. Slow Rashad Jennings down. The fact that Denarius Moore looks out for the game means that Rod Streater is the main target for McGloin. Stack the box a little and force McGloin to beat us in the air.
3. Take advantage of the Raiders broken O-Line. Their line has been decimated by injuries, pin your ears back and get some sacks.
4. Pray Sean Lee plays. This defense is totally different with him in. Period.
5. Gain a killer instinct. This team just doesn’t do what good teams do when they get the lead. Put your foot on the gas and don’t let up until the game is over. Far too often the Dallas Cowboys allow teams to get back into games.
6. If they double Dez, find ways to move him around. Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Miles Austin, and maybe Dwayne Harris are on this team too, don’t force the ball and allow them to make plays. It worked late in the Giants game.
If Dallas gets rolling in the passing game they will feast on the Oakland Raiders. I am looking for over 300 yards from Tony Romo and at minimum a two touchdown victory. It should be fun to watch if everything clicks.
So this Thanksgiving enjoy the traditions. While I am sitting on my couch with my friends and family just waking up from my usual Thanksgiving day nap (thank you carb load). I will be ready for my tradition of watching the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. So for the song of the week let’s go something fun, something traditional, something that always seems to mean the holidays to me. Vince Guaraldi – Linus and Lucy. How fun would it be to see one of the Cowboys do the Peanuts dance if they score a TD?