A few weeks ago, a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints would have been a real battle between two explosive offenses on Sunday Night Football. With Dez Bryant and Tony Romo hurt in Dallas, and Drew Brees questionable for the Saints (along with several other injuries through the roster on both teams), this game takes on a very different look, even though the point spread is favoring the Saints, it might be a close one.
Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
Point Spread: Saints -3.5 Over/under: 47 Date: Sunday Oct 4, 8:30pm ET Location:Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Missing your starting quarterback and top receiver is enough to derail any team’s offensive attack. With Brandon Weeden under center, the Cowboys are surely game planning to give running backs Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden the lion’s share of the work load on offense. Dallas has one of the best offensive lines in the league, making it easy for anyone who lines up in the back field to produce. Last week, the Cowboys running backs accounted for all four touchdowns. Look for that to be the case against the Saints this week.
The Cowboys aren’t sure who they’ll face on defense. Drew Brees is rumored to be playing this Sunday, but if not, he’ll be replaced by Luke McCown, who played well in relief, but is an obvious step down from Brees. The Saints running game has struggled to find it’s footing so far this season, which means the Cowboys can spend more resources on stopping the pass.
New Orleans Saints
With or without Brees, New Orleans will need to find a way to stop Dallas’ pass rush to give the quarterback time to throw. They’ll need to rely on quick timing routes to move the ball and hope they can find a few seams in the running game to at least keep the Cowboys defense honest.
Defensively, the Saints have to be relieved that they don’t have to face Bryant and Romo. With a patchwork secondary and little pass rush to be spoken of, New Orleans defense is a real liability and could have trouble keeping up with Dallas if they get behind early, even without their two best players on the field. The key to stopping the Cowboys will be limiting the yards gained on the ground. If they can take away the run and force Weeden to beat them with his arm, they can absolutely take this game.
Sunday Night Football Prediction
Even if Brees is cleared to play on Sunday, the Cowboys are still the better team. The Saints, who the spread is favoring, have a defense that has been on the decline for a few years and nothing has changed from last season to this season. They won’t be able to stop Joseph Randle and their offense won’t find much daylight against the Cowboys defense.