Raiders vs. Cowboys: Breaking Down Oakland’s Game Plan

According to Paul Gutierrez of, the Oakland Raiders have their starting left tackle for the first time this season and running back Darren McFadden will play on Thursday too. Now all they need to do is win on Thanksgiving Day—something they haven’t done since 1968.

Oakland has lost three straight and is on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. The Raiders will most likely need to win out to leapfrog five of the teams ahead of them.

Even then, it might not be enough.

Playing in Dallas in Week 13 offers Dennis Allen’s team a legitimate chance to stop the slide and get back in the race.

The Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in the NFL—at least statistically—while the Raiders should get a boost from the return of left tackle Jared Veldheer and McFadden. McFadden has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.

Here are four of the things the Raiders must do to beat the Cowboys in their Week 13 matchup.


Tighten up the Coverage

In its last three games, Oakland’s defense has made mediocre-to-average quarterbacks like Nick Foles of Philadelphia and Ryan Fitzpatrick of Tennessee look like Hall of Famers.

The breakdowns have come across the board too, from cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter to the back-end play of safeties Charles Woodson and Brandian Ross.

In both instances, the Raiders let opposing wide receivers get so open that oftentimes there wasn’t a defender within 10 yards. It happened consistently against the Eagles and was an even more glaring issue in the loss to the Titans.

Part of the problem has come from the lack of a pass rush. Oakland managed to put good pressure on Foles and Fitzpatrick at times, but the Raiders couldn’t finish off with sacks, which allowed both quarterbacks to extend plays and make throws downfield.


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