2013 NFL Preseason Preview: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders
Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders
Hopefully, this game will be more exciting than last season’s meeting during which a third-quarter field goal, by Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, sealed the deal for the Cowboys as they came away with the 3-0 win.
Preseason football isn’t known for its thrills and awe-inspiring playmaking, but it is a chance to see some of the things that the team has been working on. It’s a chance to see first hand how new schemes are being implemented, how personnel is being used and it’s about finding out which players fit the system.
The Cowboys finished the 2012 season with an 8-8 record and despite having an unthinkable amount of injuries, came close to capturing the NFC East crown and a playoff berth.
Obviously things didn’t go as planned for the Cowboys in 2012, and that is why these preseason games are important as they try to implement a new offensive style of play and a new scheme on defense.
The Cowboys had their first preseason game on Sunday when they took part in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio against the Miami Dolphins. In that game, most of Dallas’ starters didn’t play so Friday will be the first time the team sees its first team offense and defense in action.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at five things to watch for when the Cowboys and Raiders meet in this 2013 NFL Preseason Preview.
The Defensive Line
This will be the first time the fans get to see All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware with his hand on the ground. It will also be the first time that the Raiders roll out Matt Flynn as their starting quarterback. I think the Cowboys have the advantage here because of Flynn’s inexperience and a young offensive line, but let’s not forget about Darren McFadden who can single handedly change the outcome of a game.
The Linebacking Corps
The Cowboys have a pair of playmaking linebackers in Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. This will be the first time seeing the pair on the field together in a long time, and they will have their hands full with McFadden and the rest of the Raiders’ backs and tight ends. Flynn excels on short and intermediate routes, getting the ball out of his hands quickly, so the Cowboys linebackers will be relied upon to make sure those are minimum gains.
The Offensive Line
The Cowboys are hurting at guard due to injury and tried to sign veteran guard Brandon Moore; unfortunately he decided it wasn’t worth it and retired. The Cowboys offensive line was a bit shaky in pass protection against the Dolphins so it will be interesting to see them against the Raiders pass rush.
The Running Game
It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys’ newfound running game will continue against the Raiders. In 2012, the Raiders ranked 18th in the league against the run, but allowed an average of 118.6 rushing yards per game and were near the top of the league in rushing touchdowns allowed with 18.
The Passing Game
The Cowboys passing game was nonexistent against the Dolphins on Sunday, so you understand why I want to see what Romo and the ones can do in the passing game. If Romo can get protection, I expect him to pick that Raiders secondary apart.