In what should be one of the better preseason games of Week 3, the Oakland Raiders will travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday evening in primetime at AT&T Stadium. Meeting in Arlington will be two of the most iconic brands in football, as well as two of the most explosive offensives in the game today.
Expect to see a ton of scoring and not a lot of defense. Like Oakland, Dallas is very much an offensive-minded team that will let an opponent back in a game with its inconsistent personnel defensively. Where Dallas’ strength as a football team is like Oakland’s: along the offensive line.
Dallas has been the gold standard with offensive line play for about the last three years. The Cowboys could have as many as three future Pro Football Hall of Famers playing up front for them. Together, they have allowed Dallas to dominate the line of scrimmage with a powerful running game that opens up the pass for quarterback Dak Prescott.
This will be another test for the Raiders defense to see if it can’t salvage anything this preseason. On the other side of the ball, this will be the easiest defense Derek Carr and company will have to dissect. Expect new offensive coordinator Todd Downing to have a little fun in this dress rehearsal of a football game. Here are five matchups to watch between the Raiders and the Cowboys.
While is has not been a pleasant experience in the slightest watching the Raiders’ defense go to work in the preseason, one guy that has looked good in the first two games against the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams has to be defensive tackle Justin Ellis. He’s lost a bit of weight this offseason, allowing him to be more nimble at the line of scrimmage.
He’ll have more than his hands full with the menacing Cowboys offensive line. The man-on-man matchup to watch in this one has to be Ellis versus Dallas’ all-world center Travis Frederick. While left tackle Tyron Smith might be the best pure talent along any offensive line in football, Frederick is the face of this front-five for Dallas. And to think some in Cowboy Nation thought he was a reach for them out of Wisconsin? The dude is incredible!
This is a matchup Raider Nation will admire through and through. Seeing Ellis take that next step in his career should be exciting. Having him have a good game against a guy that is just slightly better at center than the Raiders’ own Rodney Hudson has to feel good, right?
Getting after Prescott might be very difficult for Ellis at defensive tackle. However with Ezekiel Elliott facing a six-game suspension, Ellis might be able to neutralize the Dallas offense by stopping Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris in the Cowboys’ ground game.