Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders
Date and Time: Sunday, December 17, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Opening NFL Odds: Pick 'Em, O/U 45
Cowboys vs. Raiders TV Coverage: NBC
It's a little surprising that NBC didn't choose to flex this game out for something like Rams/Seahawks or Packers/Panthers. Alas, these two teams are at least both still playing for something, and that's more than we can say about the Colts and Broncos playing on Thursday Night Football.
It took Dallas a few games to figure out how to get by without Ezekiel Elliott. Now, Rod Smith and Alfred Morris seem almost unstoppable.
Over the course of the last two games, Elliott and Smith have combined for 399 yards of offense with three total touchdowns.
With a ground game renewed, things are starting to come back together for Dak Prescott, too. He's now gone consecutive games without an interception and is starting to once again look like a Pro Bowler.
The fact remains, though, that the Cowboys are 7-6 in a conference where it'll take at least 10-6 to get into the postseason. Three straight wins is the only path towards even thinking about January football.
The Raiders lost their shot to take control of the AFC West last week when they were romped at Arrowhead against the Chiefs. They only got the ball in the hands of Marshawn Lynch seven times on the ground, and that isn't going to cut it no matter how good Derek Carr is.
Now, Oakland is left with one path and one path only to get into the playoffs, and that's by winning the AFC South. With a split against the Chiefs and a loss at home already in hand against the Chargers, the home finale is a must-win to stay in the AFC West chase with two games left to go.
Michael Crabtree has no choice but to show up for this game.
There's a good chance Amari Cooper is going to be out of the fold once again thanks to an ankle injury, and his season could very well be over with. Crabtree has been brilliant these last couple seasons with Oakland, but he's been a complete waste this year.
In 11 games, Crabtree has caught just 49 passes for 562 yards. Sure, he has six touchdowns, but three of the six came in one game against the Jets, and the other three were all had by the end of Week 7.
In a related story, in games which Crabtree doesn't score a touchdown, the Raiders are averaging 17.2 points per game. When he does score, the Raiders are good for 27.3 points per game.
Cowboys vs. Raiders Free Picks
Dallas may have figured it out, but that doesn't mean that it should be the betting favorite in this game at any of the top NFL sportsbooks.
After opening up at a pick 'em, all signs are pointing towards the Cowboys being favored in this game. They may have beaten the Redskins at home and the Giants on the road, but Dallas also hasn't played a team this good on the road this year aside from Atlanta; that game was lost 27-7.
We can't help but wonder if this game ends up getting overlooked by Dallas. The Cowboys have duels against the Seahawks and Eagles left to end the season, and it would be hard to blame them for overlooking this trip to Oakland. But the "Black Hole" has claimed many teams over the years, and Dallas could easily end up being one of them.
NFL ATS Pick: Raiders PK at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Raiders 24, Cowboys 21