The NFL Preseason continues on with Monday Night Football that pits the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have the Raiders favored by 1 point with the total set at 35.5 points.
This is the opening game for both teams in the 2012 NFL Preseason and the last two teams in the league to open their season. The Dallas Cowboys are looking to rebound from a third place finish in the NFC East and an 8-8 record. The Cowboys are historically considered to be "America's Team" although they haven't won anything since Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith were hanging around town. This year's team is trying to change that as Tony Romo comes back for another year to lead the Boys.
Carson Palmer will lead the Raiders again this season, as they also are looking to rebound from a season in 2011-12 that saw them finish with an 8-8 record overall. The Raiders failed to qualify for the playoffs. Oakland went 8-8 in 2010-11 as well. The Raiders actually had four Pro Bowlers from their team but other than Richard Seymour, no positional player qualified. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski, punter Shane Lechler and long snapper Jon Condo all made the Pro Bowl for Oakland.
In tonight's game, expect the starters to play a couple of series. Historically big time players don't play a lot in the NFL Preseason but we've seen a lot of star power in the first week of the season so far. Maybe that's to allow the players to help get into shape and knock off that rust. Could be a nice game if some of the starters play a little bit more than expected.
I like the Cowboys to be better this year than last, but I think the Raiders are going to be pretty solid as well. The return of Darrin McFadden is going to be a big upgrade for this team as he missed some significant time last season to injury. Palmer also has to cut down on the interception passes as well and Oakland needs to be more proficient on offense. Their defense isn't terrible but can also be improved in areas as well.
Free Pick: We like the Raiders at home in the night atmosphere. That Black Hole in Oakland isn't an easy place to play and I think opening the NFL Preseason on the road can be a bit difficult, so we're going to take the home team here tonight only having to win the game by a single point. We like home teams.
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