An In-Depth Preview of Cowboys vs. Raiders


Cowboys fans, Raiders fans and fantasy football fans are hoping to get a glimpse at the final 53-man rosters for both teams tonight, and see if the first team offenses defenses and special teams look Super Bowl-ready.

Here are some thoughts.

Dallas Cowboys

Roster formation: Projected new starters are RB DeMarco Murray, FB Lawrence Vickers, LG Nate Livings, RG Mackenzy Bernadeau, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, SS Barry Church and MLB Dan Connor.

What looks good: The linebacking corps and run game. DeMarco Murray has been getting more involved in the pass game.

What needs work: Cole Beasley seems to have emerged as the 3rd WR to replace Laurent Robinson. However, he’s never played a down in the NFL. Dez and Austin missed time with injuries last season (and Bryant tweaking his hamstring again) but, moreover, you can never have too many good receivers. It would be a good idea for them to have an extra red zone target like Burress before he signs somewhere else.

Fantasy analysis: Tony Romo is a top-5 QB, Murray a top-10 RB. Witten’s slipped, a little bit because he’s now going into his 10th season but more because other – sometimes faster – tight ends are used more in the passing game. With QB’s and RB’s, you gotta look at the aggressiveness of the OC, the amount of times they’ll be in the red zone, the toughness of the schedule and the potential for shootouts. Garrett got conservative at one point last season and the Dallas D looks nice, but I recommend Romo and Murray due to the overabundance of red zone opportunities and the potential for shootouts within the division. I also love their D/ST as a back-up or situational play.

Oakland Raiders

Roster formation (Week 1 2012 in comparison to Week 1 2011): Projected new starters are QB Carson Palmer, WR Denarius Moore, RG Mike Brisiel (C Stefan Wisniewski and LG Cooper Carlisle are in new spots), SLB Philip Wheeler, WLB Miles Burris, LCB Ron Bartell, and RCB Shawntae Spencer.

What looks good: The offensive weapons and Carson Palmer. The offensive line may not be perfect – and Palmer isn’t mobile – but this could be a top 5 offense, even with losing Michael Bush to free agency.

What needs work: With LB Aaron Curry out with injury, the Raiders could continue to have a tough time in run defense, that allowed a minimum of 124 rushing yards in 8 of their final 10 games in 2011.

Fantasy analysis: Ostensibly, any QB outside the top 10 is a back-up. I have Carson Palmer rated #8 behind Rodgers, Brady, Stafford, Brees, Romo, Cutler, and Newton but you can get him as a back-up (SCORE!). There are few WR tandems you can get better value for than Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. I don’t recommend drafting both of them. However, look to snag one if they are on the board in round 10. Moore is decidedly more talented, but Darrius has more experience. I’d go with Moore.

Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you can dig a game with a meaningless outcome between two of the most storied franchises in sports history! I know I can.


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