The Dallas Cowboys look to get back to winning ways with a huge Thanksgiving showdown against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Unfortunately, quarterback Dak Prescott will have to do so without Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Cooper is still on the COVID-19 list, and Lamb could not clear concussion protocol before Thursday’s game.
Nonetheless, the talent on the Cowboys roster is still plenty, although there is one stat that might be concerning for Prescott against the Raiders.
Dak Prescott has struggled against AFC West competition
The fact that Prescott has struggled against the AFC West is pretty surprising.
The Cowboys played the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 and were able to walk away with a victory at SoFi Stadium — the only win against that division this season.
However, Prescott’s performance was subpar. He finished that game 23-of-27 for 237 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. The running game saved the day that time as Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 180 yards and two scores.
Against the Denver Broncos a few weeks back, the entire Dallas offense hit a wall. If it weren’t for Prescott’s two touchdown passes in garbage time of that loss, he wouldn’t have thrown any against the AFC West all year to this point.
Last week against the Kansas City Chiefs was another strange performance from the Cowboys as a whole. Prescott tossed two interceptions, although Cooper missed that game.
Still, this is a concerning trend that Prescott and Dallas hope can go away on Turkey Day.
The Raiders defense is the perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to rebound after a poor showing against the Chiefs
The Raiders have to be the most confusing team of the season. They began the year 3-0 before falling to 3-2 and are now 5-5 and in danger of falling out of the playoff picture altogether.
Derek Carr started the year off hot but has cooled down considerably, and the loss of Henry Ruggs is still one the team is trying to overcome.
The Las Vegas defense sits at 25th in points allowed, so Prescott should have no problem finding a way to put up points. The Raiders defense has given up 73 points combined the past two weeks, so there is indeed hope for a Cowboys bounce-back performance, even with Lamb and Cooper absent.
However, with the state of the NFL this season, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Cowboys fall flat against the Raiders on Thanksgiving.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will lean on other pass-catchers with Cooper and Lamb out as they try to overcome the struggles against the AFC West
It is never a good sign when the top two pass-catchers are missing from the game. However, that is the case for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Dalton Schultz figures to be the most beneficial player under these circumstances, although one of Michael Gallup or Cedrick Wilson will need to step up on the outside.
Elliott and Pollard should see a heavy amount of carries, especially after the Raiders gave up 123 yards and two scores to Joe Mixon just days ago.
Kellen Moore and this Cowboys offense have their hands full without Lamb and Cooper, but having Prescott under center is always a good sign.
Regardless, the fact that they have hit a snag against the AFC West this season is surprising.
Can Prescott and the Cowboys buck the trend of struggling against AFC West competition?
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference