As tradition dictates, the Dallas Cowboys are home on Thanksgiving, and this year they are playing host to the Las Vegas Raiders. These two teams only meet every four years, with the Cowboys winning each of the last three meetings. On Thursday, the Cowboys are eight-point favorites, with the over/under set at 50.5 points.
Dallas is trying to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Chiefs last week. The Cowboys have now lost two of their last three games, both against AFC West teams, dropping them to 7-3 on the season. Nevertheless, they hold a 2.5-game lead over the Eagles at the top of the NFC East standings.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are hoping to snap out of a three-game losing streak on Thanksgiving. Amidst an unexpected coaching change, Las Vegas has lost consecutive games to the Giants, Chiefs, and Bengals. That puts them at 5-5 on the season, although they’re only 1.5 games behind Kansas City atop the AFC West and one game out of a playoff spot.
Who’s Driving the Carr?
Derek Carr and the Las Vegas offense have sputtered during the team’s three-game losing streak, scoring no more than 17 points in any of those games. Carr has thrown four interceptions during that stretch, although he’s played well outside of a handful of errant throws. Right now, the Raiders are struggling to run the ball, getting just 3.7 yards per carry, and no longer have Henry Ruggs providing a deep threat.
With the offense struggling, the Las Vegas defense has faltered as well. The Raiders have given up a total of 73 points over their last two games, so things are trending in the wrong direction. The front-seven has underperformed lately, struggling against the run, which is making the secondary vulnerable.
Up and Down
The Dallas offense has endured frustrating inconsistency since Dak Prescott returned from a brief absence due to injury. Of course, in between poor performances against the Broncos and Chiefs, the Cowboys hung 43 points against the Falcons, showing what they’re capable of doing when things are going well. To make matters worse, Amari Cooper will miss Thursday’s game while Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDee Lamb are also listed as questionable during a short week.
On the bright side, the Cowboys have a top-10 scoring defense, so it’s not all on Prescott and the offense to carry the team. The Dallas defense put in a strong effort against the Chiefs last week and has now allowed 20 points or less in three of the last four games. With Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys are always a threat to create takeaways, although the pass rush has been a disappointment outside of Micah Parsons, especially with Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence on IR.
Believe the Best
This game is all about whether or not the Cowboys can get on track and play anywhere close to their best. With the Las Vegas offense being limited, the Raiders have no chance to keep up with the Cowboys if they are clicking offensively, especially against a solid Dallas defense. Bet on the Cowboys to play well on Thanksgiving and cover the spread.