While the Saints continue to be the talk of the league, the Cowboys have forged their own three-game winning streak. Less than a month ago, the Cowboys were 3-5 and virtually left for dead. But wins over the Eagles, Falcons, and Redskins have Dallas at 6-5 and tied with Washington for first place in the NFC East. That record also gives them a chance to earn a wild-card spot if they don’t win the division.
Of course, no one has been able to stop the Saints, who have won their last five games by at least 10 points. With a win Thursday, New Orleans will clinch at least a tie for the NFC South crown. Of course, if the Saints want to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, they can’t afford to lose, as the Rams are still nipping at their heels.
Who’s That Guy?
It didn’t seem possible, but the New Orleans offense took things to another level on Thanksgiving night against the Falcons. Rather than relying on top playmaker Michael Thomas, Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes to four different players who most people have never heard of before. To be fair, it was against the porous Atlanta defense. But it was a testament to how brilliant Brees has been this season.
Of course, the Dallas defense should put up slightly more resistance than most teams the Saints have faced in recent weeks. But while the Cowboys are strong against the run, their secondary gives up a high percentage of completions. Brees, meanwhile, has shown incredible accuracy, completing more than 76% of his passes this year, a stat that doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys in this game.
The Big Three
On the flip side, the Dallas offense is showing some serious signs of growth over the past few weeks. The difference has to be the presence of Amari Cooper, who gives the Cowboys a legitimate no. 1 receiver. Not only is Cooper giving Dak Prescott a bonafide threat in the passing game, but he’s preventing teams from focusing too much on running back Ezekiel Elliott, who’s having another outstanding season.
The caveat for Dallas is that the New Orleans defense has also come on strong lately. The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run. Despite the impact Cooper has made, the Cowboys are 1-4 this year when Elliott is held under 100 yards rushing in a game. If the Saints can continue to stop the run, they have a good chance to stop the Dallas offense.
Just Watch the Fireworks
The Dallas defense is good, but only two teams have held the Saints under 30 points this year, so if the Cowboys want to win, they’ll have to score. Even with plenty of improvement on that side of the ball, shootouts are not what the Cowboys want, especially against a New Orleans defense that can stuff the run. Bet on the Saints beating Dallas and covering the 7.5-point spread on Thursday night.