|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST7:30 PM CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� , December 17, 2017|
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California Weather: 57°, Clear Attendance: 55,372
Little margin for error as Cowboys visit Raiders
Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders
- The Cowboys beat the Giants, 30-10, at MetLife Stadium last Sunday, winning their second straight game, while scoring 30+ points in each victory. Dallas has put at least 30 points on the board six times in 2017 -- tied for third most in the NFL.
- Oakland lost, 26-15, in Kansas City last Sunday, snapping a two-game winning streak, and losing by 10+ points for the fifth time of the 2017 campaign. Including Week 14 (23:20 TOP), the Raiders are just 1-6 when not controlling the ball for at least half the game this season.
- Dallas beat Oakland, 31-24, the last time these clubs met in 2013 (at AT&T Stadium), recording its second straight win in this series overall (both at home). Four of the last five games between the Cowboys and Raiders have been decided by seven or fewer points.
- Dak Prescott threw for 332 yards and three scores (0 INT) in last week's victory, giving him five TD passes and zero interceptions in his last two contests, and recording his fourth three-touchdown performance of the year. Prescott is 18-3 when not getting picked off during his career (2-6 in all other games).
- Derek Carr was 24-of-41 for 211 yards and a touchdown in Week 14, but was picked twice, and now has 10 interceptions on the year (had just six INT last season). Carr is now 0-11 when getting intercepted more than once during his NFL career (28-20 in all other starts).
- Dallas has run the ball 47.5 percent of the time in 2017 -- fourth highest in the NFL. Oakland has run the ball just 37.5 percent of the time this season (fourth lowest in the league).
The Dallas Cowboys travel to California this weekend to face the Oakland Raiders in what amounts to a playoff game for both teams under the lights of Sunday Night Football.
The Cowboys and Raiders each experienced moments of fulfilling preseason promise, but they've also bottomed out at times during this campaign. When the final whistle blows on Sunday night, the winner will still have a fighting chance for a playoff berth.
"I think the two of us probably expected to have a few more wins at this point in the year, but we are where we are and we're looking forward to playing," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said on Wednesday.
The Raiders will need a dramatic turnaround to bounce back from a 26-15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The Chiefs dominated Oakland for the first three quarters, surging ahead 26-0, and withstood the Raiders' fourth-quarter surge.
It made for a grumpy Del Rio in his follow-up press conference early this week.
"We are as frustrated and (angry) about what occurred (Sunday) as you can be, as anybody out there is," Del Rio said. "Losing a game like that hurts and there are no words that I can say here today that are going to take away that pain or make those that care about the Raiders feel better, so I'm really not going to try."
Meanwhile in Dallas, the Cowboys appear to be primed for a strong finish.
Dallas made big plays in the fourth quarter to win on the road against the New York Giants, 30-10, on Sunday.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had his best passing game of the season as he completed 20 of 30 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Dallas also benefited from linebacker Sean Lee's return from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the previous three games. Lee made 18 total tackles and his fourth-quarter interception set up running back Rod Smith's 15-yard touchdown that iced the win.
All of those positive vibes could be compounded by the return of Ezekiel Elliott if the Cowboys can win in Oakland on Sunday night. The matchup marks the final contest of Elliott's six-game suspension for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy.
The Dallas offense has clicked the last two weeks, albeit against NFC East opponents who sunk to the bottom of the standings. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett views the team's offensive success the last two weeks as a mark of professionalism.
"I think the most important thing for everybody is to be your best regardless of what the circumstances are," Garrett said. "Obviously Zeke is a really good football player and makes everybody around him better, but I would make the same argument about Dak. He's a really good player."
The Cowboys rushed for 122 yards in the win over the Giants, churning out 3.9 per carry. In Elliott's absence, running back Alfred Morris leads Dallas with 369 rushing yards. Morris and Smith have been efficient in the last two wins, enough to get the Raiders' attention.
"All the tape you look at, they run it well, they've got a big offensive line," Del Rio said. "Obviously, Ezekiel is special, but all the backs or good. They're all talented."
Dallas' defense has struggled to contain dynamic offenses this season. The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams in particular scored 37 and 35 points respectively as they each won on the Cowboys' home field.
Oakland seems to have the personnel to be the next offense to light up the Dallas defense. But Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was held to 211 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Chiefs. Running back Marshawn Lynch ran for just 61 yards, though he only carried it seven times. Wide receiver Amari Cooper re-injured his left ankle and didn't catch a pass against Kansas City.
The Raiders gained 164 of their 268 total yards against the Chiefs in the fourth quarter. Del Rio said he wants to see that kind of urgency for more of the contest.
"I would love to see us just let it rip and go play," Del Rio said. "We talked about hair on fire, we talked about that kind of effort and energy. Play fast. That's what I believe in and I'd love to see it more often."
Updated December 13, 2017