The Opponent: The Oakland Raiders, aka the Raidehhhhhhhs (I hate you, Berman), aka the Silver and Black, aka Al Davis’ lawsuit collateral
Record: 3-7, last in the AFC West.
The Line: Cowboys by 13.5.
Last Game: A stunning 20-17 win at home over the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals. The Raiders scored 10 points in the final 33 seconds to pull out the win. The game would have certainly gone into overtime had Bengals kickoff returner Andre Caldwell not fumbled at the 17-yard line with 27 seconds left to play. It’s the second time this year that the Raiders beat a playoff contender and ruined your suicide pool. Bastards.
The Coach: Punchy Tom Cable! Earlier this year, Cable was accused of punching Raiders assistant Randy Hanson and shattering his jaw. No charges were filed. Cable was also the focus of a recent Outside The Lines episode in which three women came forward and accused Cable of abusing them, including Cable’s first wife. On any other NFL team, these accusation might cost you your job. But in Raiderland, that totally gives you street cred. Cable totally looks like a prison barber. I wouldn’t screw with him.
The Offense: There’s nothing worse than playing against a bad team right AFTER they finally decided to bench their horrible starting quarterback. Oh, JaMarcus Russell was bad. So bad. He may very well have been the worst starting quarterback in NFL history. When you consider that Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, Heath Shuler, and Moses Moreno have all started NFL games, that’s something to write home about. Anyway, Russell was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, who, at the very least, appears interested in playing football and does not subsist on a steady diet of raw onion ring batter.
The Defense: The Raiders have the 24th ranked defense in football. Their pass D is 24th, and their run D is 30th. I dunno how they aren’t actually WORSE overall with those pass and run defenses, but there you go. Anyway, the Raiders do have a penchant for rising to the occasion in games they aren’t even close to being favored to win. Other weeks, they simply lay down and die. You never know which Raiders outfit you’re going to get. And that’s what makes them so much fun!
Key Matchup: Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Miles Austin. Asomugha is the best cover corner in football. I assume he’ll play one on one against Austin, who has been less effective in recent weeks with extra attention on him. That means the Cowboys will have to rely on – GUHHHHHHH – Roy Williams to deliver on the opposite side of the field. That’s always a recipe for death. I promise you, Roy Williams may one day go down as the worst Cowboy ever.