It might not have all the fanfare of a few weeks ago but anytime the Cowboys and Saints meet, there is excitement. Last year’s Saints-Cowboys game was the highest rated Thursday Night Football game ever and it was a 13-10 Cowboys victory. There will be no Drew Brees but Teddy Bridgewater is plenty capable after going into Seattle and handing them their first September home loss of the Pete Carroll-era.
When the Saints have the ball
Stop Alvin Kamara. That’s something the Seahawks could not do last week and the Saints dinked-and-dunked Seattle to death. If the Cowboys cannot clog up the running lanes and watch for the dump offs, it will be a long day for the defense. You have to find a way to make the Saints one-dimensional and though Michael Thomas is a phenomenal player, Kamara is the juice that shakes the Saints’ offense loose. Tackling is of the utmost importance in this game for the Cowboys defense.
When the Cowboys have the ball
Protect Dak Precott. The Cowboys offensive line is the best in football but they will be tested by a decent Saints’ pass rusher in Cam Jordan. If the Cowboys continue to keep things clean for Dak, the offense will be able to do whatever it wants to the Saints defense. The issue here is going to be communication because NOLA gets loud and fiery when the Saints defense marches in. It’s one of the harder places to play for any offense but especially the Dallas Cowboys.
Now for the writer’s predictions...
Cowboys 24, Saints 20. The game goes back and forth but Dak Prescott makes the big play to put the Cowboys over the top in his home state.
This game has the feel of their matchup against the Saints five years ago where the Cowboys showed the world just how good of a team they were. Strangely enough, it was also a Week 4 matchup on Sunday night. Just like then, I see the Cowboys sending a message that domination still happens, even with a strong opponent like the Saints. The Dallas ‘D’ finally “slows the roll” of many antsy fans and lays down the hurt, and the offense keeps doing what they’ve been doing - scoring touchdowns. In honor of their 2014 route, I have them winning 38-17 with the game firmly in their control by the third quarter.
Based on what we’ve seen this year from both teams, the Cowboys should be set up for a big win but I don’t see it happening. At home, I have a gut feeling this Saints team gets back on track, especially on defense. Saints pull out a win 31-28
I think this game goes kind of like most of the Cowboys games this season. It’s relatively close early but the Cowboys eventually string together a couple scoring drives while also getting a few key stops. You look up midway through the third quarter and Dallas has a double-digit lead. Cowboys 30 Saints 20.
It will be a bit more difficult, but the basic trends will be the same. The Cowboys will move the ball well, Dak will continue to be highly efficient, Zeke gets 100 with Pollard chipping in, Amari gets open when he wants to, and the defense yields yards but gets a lot of third down stops and is tough in the red zone. Dallas gets to 4-0, winning 27-17.
This game is a hard one to pick because right now that Saints team is fired up to win without Drew Brees and Sean Payton has his guys fighting hard for Teddy Bridgewater. Still, in the end, I think the Cowboys will be just as fired up and it’s a return home for Dak Prescott. The Saints’ defense has not been stopping people too often this season. Give me another phenomenal two-minute drill engineered by Dak Prescott and Cowboys win this late 28-24.