NFL Thanksgiving Day 2021: The 4 Biggest Storylines for Cowboys vs. Raiders

The best game of Thanksgiving Day is undoubtedly the Las Vegas Raiders against the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott laces up the cleats after a disheartening loss against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, and Derek Carr and the Raiders try and get back on course.

Unfortunately, Amari Cooper won’t be facing his former team after he landed on the COVID-19 list. But still, there are a lot of storylines to be excited about for the Thursday afternoon clash.

4) Dak Prescott’s rebound after dropping a dud against the Chiefs

Prescott and the entire Cowboys offense hit a wall against Kansas City in what should have been an offensive outpouring. Yet, they failed to score a touchdown in the 19-9 defeat to the Chiefs.

Now, Prescott needs to find a way to bounce back just two weeks removed from a 43-point showing against the Atlanta Falcons.

Which version of the Cowboys’ offense will show up? Will it be the one that torched the Falcons? Or will it be the offense that struggled against the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos over the last few weeks?

The Cowboys didn’t score a touchdown and will look to bounce back against the Raiders on Thanksgiving day. Cooper is out, and Ezekiel Elliott is banged up, but there are still plenty of options on this Dallas offense.

3) The Raiders playoff hopes are dwindling and this game could be the end

The NFL has a ton of teams hovering above the .500 mark past the halfway point of the year.

The Raiders started at 3-0 before tripping and falling following an unfortunate turn of events. Jon Gruden got fired, and then the Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette situations unfolded.

Las Vegas dropped to 3-2 following losses to the Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago Bears before winning two straight. After the bye week, they dropped three consecutive games and currently sit at 5-5 and out of the AFC playoff picture for the time being.

A loss to the Cowboys will likely end any potential playoff hopes, especially with games coming up against the Chiefs and Chargers on tap.

This is a must-win for the Raiders, as cliche as that is.

2) Derek Carr facing the Cowboys has some interesting family ties

This will be a fun storyline regardless of the outcome of the game. Carr’s family grew up as Cowboys fans, and he mentions that’s why his middle name is Dallas.

That is pretty cool, and the fact this game is on Thanksgiving is even more appealing.

But, Carr and his family will have to put these feelings aside for the game on Thursday and focus on winning. Three straight losses for the Raiders is not encouraging, especially after looking like one of the best teams to start the year off.

Carr grew up watching the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but this time around, the Carr family will watch Derek battle against the Cowboys on Turkey Day.

1) The availability of Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb

Derek Carr and the Raiders face Dak Prescott and Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
CeeDee Lamb, Derek Carr, and Dak Prescott | Christian Petersen/Matthew Stockman/Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This is perhaps the most important storyline of the entire game. With Cooper already sidelined, the availability and health of CeeDee Lamb will be most important.

The young wide receiver entered concussion protocol and worked hard to be ready for the Thanksgiving showdown.

The latest update on Wednesday was a good sign, although the fluidity of the situation could change quickly. If Lamb can’t go for some reason, the Cowboys would be down their top two pass-catchers for the game.

If he does go, which is expected, he should be in line for a monster amount of targets and a chance to post some sizzling numbers against a questionable Raiders secondary.

Could this finally be the breakout game for Lamb?

First things first, he has to be cleared. Either way, let’s enjoy some Thanksgiving football.

Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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