The Dallas Cowboys begin life after Terrell Owens on Thursday as they open up the preseason at Oakland.
While much is expected out of the Cowboys this season, not much is expected on Thursday. Dallas will be without seven starters for the game against the Raiders. Head coach Wade Phillips is being cautious with injuries and holding out a number of players who could play if this was a regular season game. Dallas opened up as the NFL betting choice in this game but bettors have pounded the Raiders and they are now a two point favorite.
The Cowboys will still have a lot of recognizable names on Thursday including quarterback Tony Romo who is expected to play for a couple of series and wide receiver Roy Williams who is trying to take the place of Owens. Many of the injuries for the Cowboys are on defense, especially in the secondary where starting corners Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins are out. Starting fullback Deon Anderson will miss the game as will outside linebacker Steve Octavien and rookie inside linebacker Stephen Hodge.
Cornerback Michael Hawkins and running back Alonzo Coleman will not play either. The Cowboys are not placing much emphasis on this game as Phillips wants to see his younger players. "We’d like to see the young guys, not just rookies, but young players to see how they’re developing," Phillips said.
Dallas is expecting to play all four quarterbacks this week. That is a major concern if you are backing the Cowboys as you bet on football because two of those quarterbacks are rookies. Romo will get a couple of series followed by Jon Kitna. The second half is going to be all about rookies Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter.
The Raiders quarterback rotation would have been stronger for this NFL betting matchup but backup Jeff Garcia is not expected to play. JaMarcus Russell should get some solid playing time followed by Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski.
The Raiders lead the NFL betting preseason series 16-9 against the Cowboys. The Raiders and Cowboys met every year in the preseason from 1972-76; 1986-91 and from 1993-2004.
The NFL betting total for this game on Thursday is 34.5 and the teams might have a tough time reach that number. The playbook for both teams is going to be very Vanilla since the teams meet in the regular season on Thanksgiving in Dallas.