When I first began pondering this turkey day match-up, two people immediately came to mind; Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger. After watching Ang Lee's masterpiece documenting life as a Dallas Cowboy,I believe HBO called it "Hard Knocks", some interesting similarities began to take shape.
My most intriguing derivation when analyzing these two storied franchises came as a bit of a surprise. This Thursday both teams will be wearing silver pants. A detail otherwise over looked by most historians, teams wearing silver pants have the most combined Superbowl wins.
The second similarity required much less research. No one can deny the eerie doppelgänger qualities of Jerry and Al; in my humble opinion the two greatest owners in sporting history. Both have an insatiable hunger for winning and unwavering dedication to the success of their respective teams. Coincidentally, this same thirst has led to a most fascinating holiday showdown between two teams struggling to find their identities.
My initial reaction to the Cowboys record of 7 wins and 3 losses was one of confoundment. "Well choke my chicken...," how did the Cowboys win 7 games?
The combined record of the teams defeated by the Cowboys this year is 25 wins and 45 losses. This includes only one win against a team with a winning record; the injury plagued Eagles. This win total also includes victories over the Chiefs and Redskins in games tighter than Tony Romo's jeans. Dallas has struggled with the struggling.
At first glance, the Raiders would appear to be right in the Cowboys wheelhouse and probably why the Raiders will win. Although the Raiders have only 3 wins, the combined record of the teams defeated by the Raiders is 16 wins and 14 losses. Among these wins, two of the most potent offensives for 2009; the Bengals and Eagles.
The Bengals have never won in Oakland and the Raiders have never lost in Dallas.
On that note, the Q & A......
Will the Raiders be able to move the ball on the Cowboys defense?
"The Cowboys are riding high after holding the Redskins to six points...."
As far as I'm concerned that's 6 too many. It's no secret the Raiders offense has struggled...the reason? Also not a secret. Schillens shredded the Cowboy defense in the pre-season, I'm looking for him to hit a stride in this game. Look for Dirty Murph to beat the Cowboys secondary deep and set up the run. Cowboys pass defense is their weak link, a perfect setup for Gradkowski's quick release avoiding the Dallas rush.
Does Tony Romo wear Wrangler or Levis?
My guess was Levis; I was surprised to learn he prefers Osh Kosh Begosh.
Can the Raiders stop the Cowboys rushing attack?
The most valid of concerns. The Raiders held the Bensonless Bengals to around 2.7 yards per carry without the 60 yarder on the busted blitz. The Cboys are 8th in rushing with an impressive 5.0 yards per carry. Raiders will need to step it up against the run this week.
Keys to the game?
Turnovers. Both the Cowboys and Raiders have terrible turnover ratios at -4 and -7 respectively. Romo always seems to have a few spotlight games when he likes to turn the ball over as much as possible. The Raiders will most graciously accept Romo's Holiday tidings.
Gradkowski lost to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving while with the Bucs?
Does Al have any tricks up his sleeve?
Absolutely, Al has invited Candice Crawford to join him in the owners box. He bought her a custom pink Tony Romo jersey. What she doesn't know is that Al also invited Jessica Simpson. An inflatable pool and 1 ton of Peach Jell-o was delivered to Al's box this morning.
Any match-ups to watch?
Greg Ellis is returning to Dallas. He said " I'm treating this like any other game.." Well let me translate for you, "When I'm done with Romo he'll be picking so much grass out of his butt, he'll think he's been stuffed." Where's the gravy?
I'm also excited to see how Nnamdi and the boys handle the Cowboy receivers.
Is it true Cowboys have more fun?
This is a very common misnomer I seem to encounter on a daily basis. This is a corruption of the original Cowboy gospel. In the late 80's in an effort to better fit on a bumper sticker, it was changed from "Cowboys have more fun, together " to the afore mentioned version. Hope that clears it up.
Yes, for the 11th week in a row, I predict DHB gets his first touchdown, and the Raiders rush for over 200 yards.
If you have any additional questions I'd be happy to answer.
"Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants.... It's for fun."