August 1, 2012; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Game Preview: Cowboys at Oakland Raiders

Football is finally here and more importantly, Cowboys football is back!  After going 8-8 last season, it’s finally time to get back to work.  The Cowboys were aggressive in free agency by getting Brandon Carr, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Then in the draft, getting Morris Claiborne was another feather in their hat, trying to correct losses due to 4th quarter breakdowns.

On Monday night, the Cowboys visit the Oakland Raiders with a kickoff of 5 pm PST, 7 pm CST. This will be year one without Raider icon and owner, Al Davis.  This will be a new Raiders team as they have a new head coach Dennis Allen, who became the 18th head coach in franchise history according to the teams’ website, raiders.com.  Allen will inherit an 8-8 team that returns Carson Palmer, a midseason acquisition.

The Raiders will be hungry to showcase their skills despite the fact it is a preseason game.  New owner Mark Davis wants to put his stamp on this team, just like any other new owner would want to.

Offensively:

The Raider starters will probably play the first series, like many are in the NFL.  Carson Palmer will be under center while Darren McFadden will be behind him in the backfield.  The most interesting battle will be the starting offensive line vs the Cowboys starting defensive linebackers.  With a majority of the offensive line returning, it should be a good battle.  Mike Brisiel was acquired from the Houston Texans during the offseason.

I would say the most interesting battle would have been the starting Raider receivers vs the Cowboys defensive backfield, but with Claiborne and Jenkins out; it is not as interesting story line.

Defensively:

The Raiders will start a rookie at linebacker, Miles Burris from San Diego State.  He was selected during the 4th round.  Oakland signed 3 defensive free agents as Ron Bartell came in from the St. Louis Rams, Shawntae Spencer made the short drive from San Francisco to join the Raider defense, while linebacker Phillip Wheeler joined the team from the Colts.

The most interesting battle should be the starting offensive line of the Cowboys and Demarco Murray vs the Raider defensive line.

Special teams:

You cannot write an article without mentioning Sebastion Janikowski.  He has been a staple of the Raider’s special teams play for 13 seasons.   He is kicking well for an aging kicker, but kickers age slowly in the NFL.  We may see Janikowski for another several years.  Jacoby Ford is expected to start as far kickoff and punt returns.

Fantasy players to watch:

Cowboys:

Tony Romo, Demarco Murray, Jason Witten, Cowboy Defense

Raiders:

Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey

Game prediction:

Considering this is a preseason game, it will be a low scoring game.  The Cowboys starting offense should score their first series, then let the backups prove their worth.  The Cowboys should win this game, 13-3.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Oakland Raiders Preseason

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