Another year, another Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game. One of the best traditions in all of Cowboys Nation returns, this time against the Las Vegas Raiders. Thus completing the Cowboys AFC West tour.

The team is coming off their 2nd loss in 3 games and looking to bounce back on a short week. And just in time as well. Despite not having Amari Cooper, who’s still on the COVID/Reserve list, the Cowboys will be getting reinforcements.

Left tackle Tyron Smith returns after a 3-game absence. A relief to both Dak Prescott and new left guard Connor McGovern. CeeDee Lamb, who left Sunday’s game with a concussion, looks like he could suit up as well.

The Las Vegas Raiders are in the middle of a 3-game losing streak, with the last 2 by a combined 36 points. If there was a team to bounce back from after a loss, it’s an imploding Raiders team. A team without their original head coach and both 2020 1st round draft picks.

There are areas the Raiders are skilled at, and areas that need to be bullied. Despite the injuries piling up, the Dallas Cowboys have the players and skill to attack these.

Pick on Johnathan Abram

Raiders strong safety is 2 things: a great tackler, and a liability in coverage.

When lined up in man coverage, Abram has been responsible primarily for running backs coming out the backfield, and tight ends lined up on the line of scrimmage. Which bodes well for Tony Pollard and Dalton Schultz. Both players who have some of the highest catch percentages on the team (92.6% and 74.6% respectively).

Regardless of who Abram is following, that will be the best option just based on the match up.

Secure the Edges

The Dallas Cowboys have faced plenty of good pass rushers this season. However, this might be the best tandem they see all season.

Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue combine for 12 sacks and 10 tackles for loss on the season, and are both among the league leaders in quarterback pressures.

This only adds to how big of a return Tyron Smith is. This is only the 2nd time all season he and La’el Collins will be on the field together. A relief for Dak Prescott, and the best way to keep the this lethal duo at bay.

Ground and Pound

Even though the Dallas Cowboys have gotten away from the run game, this would be a great game to get it going again. The Raiders give up the 4th most rush yards per game (132.1) and the 7th most yards per rush (4.5).

Even with Ezekiel Elliott dealing with a knee injury, it doesn’t appear serious or lingering enough to stop him from playing. This would be a perfect week to reintroduce the 1-2 punch this backfield has had for most of the season.

Both Pollard and Elliott average over 4.5 yards per carry. Against a bad rush defense, and newly healthy offensive line, they should both feast on Thanksgiving.

Put the Pressure on Carr

Kolton Miller is a high quality left tackle. Aside from him, it’s open season on an inconsistent offensive line.

Rookie Alex Leatherwood has been switched from right tackle to right guard in the middle of the season, yielding mixed results. This has caused Brandon Parker to move out to right tackle, considered to be the weakness up front.

Andre James is having a solid year in pass protection at the center, making him one of the stronger points. However, he hasn’t gotten much push in the run game. Left guard John Simon is playing worse in pass protection, and has struggles the same against the run.

Whether it’s Dorance Armstrong or Micah Parsons (or both) blitzing off the left side over Parker, or heavily attacking the interior, there will be plenty of opportunities to get to Derek Carr. Even without DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory, the Cowboys pass rush should be at an advantage.