Cowboys vs. Raiders: What we know, what we don’t know on Thanksgiving

Shilique Calhoun #91 of the Oakland Raiders closes in on Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Shilique Calhoun #91 of the Oakland Raiders closes in on Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

We don’t know what version of Dak Prescott will play today.

It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Prescott would be the favorite to win MVP this season after eight weeks. After putting together two bad performances against the Chiefs and Broncos, it seems to be up for debate.

Can Prescott elevate his team when they are missing so much? That is what makes an MVP in the NFL. Look at quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. They continue to be in the MVP conversation because they are successful, no matter who is on the field with them.

Last week against the Chiefs, Prescott was without his top two wideouts for most of the game and will not have to deal with the same problem against the Raiders. Both Cooper and Lamb are out, which leaves receivers Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, and Malik Turner.

Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore needs to pull out all the ticks today and reestablish themselves as the No.1 offense in the league.

Look for there to be quick outs and slants to play off the run game. The Raiders should be playing man coverage for most of the game if they feel the Dallas wideouts don’t threaten them. It is up to Prescott to take advantage of the matchups presented to him, rely on his leadership, and not make mistakes. If he can do all of that, he will be right back in the conversation of MVP.

We don’t know if Ezekiel Elliott is the same player.

I have been a big fan of running back Ezekiel Elliott ever since the Cowboys drafted him in 2016, but he has not been the same player this season. He has been banged up more and was on the injury report this week dealing with a bone bruise in his knee. The last time he was over 100 yards rushing in a game was Oct. 10th, and he has had only two games of over the century mark this season.

Kellen Moore has dedicated more effort to using running back Tony Pollard as his change of pace back. There can be an argument for Pollard being the better runner right now and should be taking most of the snaps. However, Pollard might be too busy taking snaps at receiver with the lack of wide receiver depth, so Elliott needs to step up.

If the Cowboys can run the ball as they did at the beginning of the season, then they should walk away with a win against the Raiders. Las Vegas sits at 28th in the league, allowing 132 rushing yards per game to opponents. In the last three games, they have allowed 134 yards per game. With tackle Tyron Smith back, Elliott should have more success and hopefully get back to being the star player Dallas needs.

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