The Dallas Cowboys (6-5) have their eyes on a playoff spot with the NFC East wide open, but they will see how good they really are when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (10-1) visit Dallas on Thursday Night Football.
One of the NFL’s high-octane offenses with the Saints go up against one of the better overall defenses in the league and the Cowboys. The Saints won ten games in a row and hope to make it eleven straight.
New Orleans Saints (10-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Kickoff: 5:20pm PT
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Point Spread: Saints -7.5
The Cowboys are a live home dog by little more than a touchdown.
Saints Keep Marching
After losing the first game of the season, the Saints won ten in a row including a shootout in the Superdome against the LA Rams. Can anyone stop Drew Brees? He broke Peyton Manning’s passing record and joined the exclusive 500 TD Club. At this point, even a game on a short week against a tough defense is still not enough to dissuade the bookies in Las Vegas.
Brees is putting up MVP-like numbers (3,135 yards, 29 TD, 2 INTs) with minimal effort. He makes it look easy, especially for a 39-year old who is also completing 76.4 percent of his passes. Brees threw four touchdowns in three of his last four games.
Patrick Mahomes (37) and Andrew Luck (32) threw more touchdowns than Brees, but both threw at least 10 interceptions. Brees only threw it away twice.
The Saints churn out a league-leading 37.2 points per game with a combined rushing and air attack. The tandem of Alvin Kamara (15 TDs) and Mark Ingram has been highly successful. They face a brickwall of a run defense in Dallas that is fourth best in the NFL.
You would think two super-talented backs would squabble over playing time, but New Orleans generates so much offense that there’s plenty of opportunity to shine. At the same time, sharing the workload will provide long term benefits for the longevity and health of both running backs. With a Super Bowl appearance, a reality, the Saints needs their big backs in the postseason for three additional, high-impact games.
The Saints travel well and are 5-0 on the road this season. The Saints are 9-2 against the spread this season.
The South Point Casino in Las Vegas currently lists the New Orleans Saints at 3-2 to win the Super Bowl. They are the top favorite on the board, followed by the LA Rams at 3-1.
Upswing in Dallas
The Cowboys picked off the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving to put them in a first-place tie in the NFC East. The Cowboys have an inside track to the division crown and head coach Jason Garrett has a chance to go from the dog house to the penthouse.
The trade with the Oakland Raiders for Amari Cooper has made Jon Gruden look like a fool. The newly acquired wide receiver has his best game as a member of the Cowboys on Turkey Day. Cooper caught eight balls for 180 yards and he scored two touchdowns, including a 90-yarder.
Since his arrival, Dak Prescott has found a new-favorite receiver with 32 targets in four games. Cooper caught 22 of those for three touchdowns.
Big D in the Big D
The Cowboys defense limits opponents to only 19.4 points per game. That’s the third best in the NFL. They have an average pass defense, but their run defense is ranked fourth in the league with only 93.6 yards per game allowed.
If the Cowboys stop the dynamic duo of Kamara and Ingram, they still have to figure out how to stop Drew Brees. He spread the ball around with zero predictability. Last week in a win against the Atlanta Falcons, Brees connected on scores with four different receivers.
The Cowboys struggle on the road, but are 4-1 at home. They might not have enough to stop Brees completely. Could be an old-fashioned shootout in Dallas with the new and improved Cowboys offense keeping them in a game.
The South Point Casino in Las Vegas currently lists the Cowboys at 40-1 odds to win the Super Bowl