Quick turn­around ben­e­fits Cow­boys, Raiders

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY SCHUYLER DIXON

AR­LING­TON, TEXAS | The Dal­las Cow­boys and Oakland Raiders need the same short mem­ory dur­ing a short week, for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

The Cow­boys have to move on from a last-play win over the New York Gi­ants to stay in po­si­tion to end a three-year play­off drought. The Raiders must for­get a last-minute loss to Ten­nessee that dam­aged hopes for their first post­sea­son trip since 2002.

“Maybe be­ing a short week you just know you can’t think about it,” said quar­ter­back Tony Romo, who has di­rected win­ning fourth-quar­ter drives in the past two Dal­las vic­to­ries. “I mean re­ally, this game comes so fast you’re im­mersed in the study and just look­ing at the op­po­nent and re­ally wear­ing your­self out to get all of the looks to find out what you think is the best way to at­tack them. And by the end of the week you feel com­fort­able.”

Romo won’t be the only un­drafted start­ing quar­ter­back Thurs­day. Oakland’s Matt McGloin makes his third ca­reer start on a big Thanks­giv­ing stage two weeks af­ter his de­but in Texas with a vic­tory over Houston.

Five things to con­sider as the Cow­boys meet the Raiders for a sec­ond time on Thanks­giv­ing. Dal­las won the last meet­ing 24-7 in 2009.

DUAL HOME­COM­ING: Den­nis Allen, the youngest head coach in the league, is com­ing home, and so are the Cow­boys. For Allen, that means coach­ing in frontof fam­ily and friends just a few miles from where he grew up (sub­urb of Hurst) and played high school foot­ball (L.D. Bell). Allen also was a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant at Texas A&M, where he played safety. “It’ll be fun,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately, we don’t get a lot of time to hang out and visit. I won’t be hav­ing Thanks­giv­ing din­ner with the fam­ily.”

POST­SEA­SON PIC­TURE: The Cow­boys (6-5) are tied with Philadel­phia atop the NFC East and cre­ated some sep­a­ra­tion for the di­vi­sion lead­ers with last week’s 24-21 win over the Gi­ants. Dal­las has played win­ner-take-all fi­nales against di­vi­sion ri­vals the past two sea­sons, and the pos­si­bil­ity looms again with the Ea­gles vis­it­ing to wrap up the reg­u­lar sea­son.

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT: Raiders run­ning back Dar­ren McFad­den re­turned to prac­tice for the first time since in­jur­ing his ham­string Nov. 3 against Philadel­phia and is ex­pected to play. Backup Rashad Jen­nings leads the league with 553 yards from scrim­mage the past four weeks and will also get time. “I think he’s earned the right and de­serves the right to con­tinue to get his car­ries,” Allen said of Jen­nings.

KICK­ING TRENDS: The ar­row points up for Cow­boys kicker Dan Bai­ley, who set a fran­chise record with his eighth win­ning field goal — a 35-yarder that beat the Gi­ants on the fi­nal play. Rafael Sep­tien had seven from 1978-86. Bai­ley is 18 of 20 for the year and has nine misses in three sea­sons for an ac­cu­racy rate just shy of 90 per­cent. Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski missed twice against Ten­nessee, giv­ing him mul­ti­ple misses in a game for the first time since 2010. He’s 15 of 22 for the sea­son.

RARE ROAD BLUE: The Cow­boys will wear their blue road jer­seys at home in a rar­ity that will stress out their fans. It’s hap­pen­ing be­cause Dal­las was again plan­ning a throw­back en­sem­ble of white hel­mets with a blue star and an old­style blue jersey. Af­ter the league banned throw­back hel­mets in Septem­ber over safety con­cerns be­cause the play­ers hadn’t bro­ken them in, Dal­las de­cided on the same road blue uni­forms they wore in San Diego.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Dal­las quar­ter­back Tony Romo cel­e­brates as he walks off the field fol­low­ing the Cow­boys’ 24-21 vic­tory over the Gi­ants on Sun­day. The team’s tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing game will force Dal­las not to rest on its laurels as the Cow­boys face the Raiders to­day.

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