(CBS DFW) — It’s been a tough month for the Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) and Dallas Cowboys (7-3). The Raiders began November atop the AFC West, having overcome a scandal-induced teaching change to win 5 video games on the season. They haven’t received since. The Cowboys walloped the Atlanta Falcons a pair weeks in the past. However bookending that spectacular win are a whole collapse in opposition to the Denver Broncos and a partial collapse in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. It’s unclear which Dallas group will present up on Thanksgiving in opposition to the Raiders.
The high-scoring Cowboys offense failed to search out the tip zone in Week 11, settling for 3 area objectives. That wasn’t sufficient. They misplaced 19-9 and gave again a recreation to the Philadelphia Eagles within the division standings. Dak Prescott had a tough afternoon, going 28-43 for 216 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked 5 occasions and spent a lot of the sport below duress. Tight finish Dalton Schultz caught six passes for 53 yards; Michael Gallup hauled in 5 passes for 44 yards. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard mixed for 82 yards on the bottom.
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The lackluster offensive displaying might be defined to some extent by accidents and COVID. Left deal with Tryon Smith was out with an ankle damage. Broad receiver Amari Cooper examined constructive for COVID, which prevented him from enjoying. Fellow broad receiver CeeDee Lamb was pressured from the sport with a concussion late within the second quarter. And operating again Ezekiel Elliott tweaked the injured knee that’s hampered him for a lot of the season.
The Cowboys, when wholesome, are one of many NFL’s higher offenses. They common a league-leading 418.1 yards and a third-best 29.3 factors per recreation. Their run and cross video games are each high 5. A lot of their success is because of Prescott, however he can’t do all of it. And it appears unlikely he’ll have his full complement of weapons with the quick week. Cooper is already on the reserve/COVID-19 record and, being unvaccinated, will likely be out till not less than Sunday. Lamb has entered concussion protocol and appears unlikely to clear it by Thursday. That leaves Michael Gallup, who himself solely just lately returned to the sphere, and Cedrick Wilson. Elliott performed with the aggravated knee damage, which suggests he may very well be accessible.
The restricted Dallas offense will face a Raiders protection that performed effectively sufficient to win for a lot of final week’s recreation. Las Vegas was down 16-13 early within the fourth quarter. Then the sport slipped away from them. Joe Burrow and firm put up 16 unanswered factors to guide the Cincinnati Bengals to a 32-13 win. Sick-timed defensive penalties helped maintain their drives alive. However the Las Vegas protection restricted Burrow to simply 20-29 passing, for 148 yards and a landing, on the afternoon. They sacked him thrice. The Raiders protection didn’t have a solution for Joe Mixon, who carried the ball 30 occasions for 123 yards and two TDs.
That’s been the story with this unit for a lot of the season. They rank among the many NFL’s worst in opposition to the run, permitting 132.1 yards per recreation, and among the many finest in opposition to the cross, permitting 220.8 yards.
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Their Cowboy counterparts have seen marked enchancment because the season has progressed. They shut down the overmatched Atlanta Falcons in Week 10. And that sturdy play continued in Week 11 in opposition to the always-dangerous Chiefs. After permitting 16 first-half factors, the Dallas protection tightened up. The Chiefs’ subsequent three drives resulted in both a punt or a fumble. Their 10 complete performs in these collection netted simply 25 yards. A Jayron Kearse interception and one other pressured punt opened the second half.
Patrick Mahomes went 23-37 for 260 yards and no touchdowns on the day. Linebacker Micah Parsons sacked him twice, tying the group’s rookie report with eight on the season. A kind of sacks resulted in a fumble and a change of possession in Chiefs’ territory. The unit stays weak in opposition to the cross, permitting 251.9 yards passing per recreation, adequate for center of the pack. They’re higher defending the run, giving up 103.7 yards per recreation. Although that low common is partially a perform of an offense that typically jumps out to a lead, forcing opponents to desert the run recreation.
The Raiders offense actually doesn’t need to spot the Cowboys an early lead. However they’re snug counting on the cross. Derek Carr has put up 3,041 yards on the season up to now, third most after Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Tight finish Darren Waller is his main goal by way of yardage, with 610 on the season. Nevertheless, Hunter Renfro has additionally been productive, significantly with the lack of Henry Ruggs III. He leads the group with 56 receptions. For pretty much as good because the passing recreation is, their floor recreation has not been terribly productive. Josh Jacobs, their main rusher, has 333 yards on the season in 88 makes an attempt. He’s solely topped 50 yards in a recreation twice.
The Raiders at the moment are wanting up at each the Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers within the standings. They should get away of their hunch quickly in the event that they need to maintain tempo within the aggressive AFC West. The Cowboys face much less urgency within the NFC East, with solely the Eagles presenting any type of opposition. However they’ll be trying to get their offense going once more in Week 12.
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The Raiders play the Cowboys Thursday, November 25 @ 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS.