Cowboys Should Handle the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day
The simulations of the Dallas-Oakland game heavily favor the Cowboys. This is hardly a surprise. However, thanks to consecutive seven-point scoring performances, few think that the Cowboys will cover the 14-point spread. Dallas managed to win by an average margin of 14 points in only one of the three simulations noted below.
AccuScore: Dallas 27, Oakland 13
The Cowboys won 83% of AccuScore’s 10,001 simulations by an average score of 27-13. This was the most optimistic of the three simulations.
The Cowboys offense has struggled and the past 2 weeks and they barely cracked 300 yards last week. If they are held to under 300 yards the Cowboys are still heavy 75 percent favorites against the Raiders because the Cowboys defense is expected to hold the Raiders to just 13 points. If Bruce Gradkowski throws no interceptions and the Raiders trio of RBs can average over 5 yards per carry the Raiders chances improve all the way to 46 percent. If the offense is good and they also hold Dallas to under 300 yards the Raiders are actually a 5 point favorite.
WhatIfSports: Dallas 25, Oakland 15
The Cowboys were less successful in WhatIfSports’ simulations, winning 72.3% of the games by an average score of 25-15. Tony Romo threw for fewer than 200 yards on average in these simulations. The Raiders averaged 300 yards in total offense, with 140 coming on the ground.
Madden Simulation: Dallas 23, Oakland 13
ESPN’s simulation of the game using Madden was similar to the WhatIfSports simulation.
The Cowboys matched their entire scoring output from their last game in their first drive against the Raiders, and they never looked back, winning their Thanksgiving showdown, 23-13.
Tony Romo completed 26 of 41 passes for 289 yards, including one touchdown and one interception. Marion Barber added 94 bruising yards on the ground as the Cowboys get their eighth win of the season.
The Raiders, meanwhile, drop to 3-8, although they look much more competitive on offense now that JaMarcus Russell watches the game from the bench.
My Guess (7-3 this season based on win-loss)
My wild guess last week accurately predicted that the Redskins would only score six points against the Cowboys. I never once thought the Cowboys would only score seven for a second consecutive week. Here was my prediction:
As for this week, I think Dallas will control the clock by using shorter passes and the running game. Romo may have a couple of big plays to Miles Austin to help set up scores, but the real story in this game will be the defense’s role in smothering the Redskins and the offense’s role in grinding out yards and keeping the ball out of Washington’s hands.
For the season, here is the record:
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City 14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)
Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17 (actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)
Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17 (actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)
Week 9: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17 (actual: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16)
Week 10: Dallas 31, Green Bay 20 (actual: Green Bay 17, Dallas 7)
Week 11: Dallas 20, Washington 6 (actual: Dallas 7, Washington 6)
Since I am going to the game, I refuse to believe the Cowboys are going to struggle against the Raiders, who have had problems putting together back-to-back wins. Dallas will jump out to a 16-0 lead thanks to three Nick Folk field goals. The Raiders will cut into the lead, but two second half touchdowns will put the game away for Dallas. The result:
Dallas 30, Oakland 13