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NFL Game Preview: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints

Dec 2, 2021

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Game: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints  

Time: 8:20 p.m. ET 

Odds: Cowboys -5.5, Saints +5.5 

Total: 47.5 

It was not a Happy Thanksgiving for either Dallas or New Orleans last week. Both teams lost on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys dropped their third game in the last four on a field goal in overtime. The Saints might be feeling a little worse as they were not even competitive in their 31-6 loss to Buffalo in the Turkey Day nightcap. 

For New Orleans, it was the fourth straight loss since losing starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending knee injury. Winston isn’t the only big injury either. Wide receiver Michael Thomas, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards last year, hasn’t played a down in 2021. RB Alvin Kamara, one of the NFL’s best dual-threat running backs, has missed the last three games. That’s part of the reason why New Orleans managed just six points against the Bills last week.  

The Saints are now just 5-6 after starting the season 5-2 and looking like a playoff team. Now, the season might be a write-off. Backup QB Trevor Siemian has not been the answer, but he was the go-to with true backup Taysom Hill also injured. It is reported that Hill is ready to go and will start on Thursday night. That will be a boost for the Saints’ offense. 

The Cowboys lost to Kansas City and Denver but beat Atlanta 43-3. Last week’s loss gives them three out of four which drops the Cowboys record to 7-4. Still, they remain atop the NFC East, which is one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. They need to continue to win games that they are supposed to win in order to maintain that lead. 

There is no doubt that Dallas can score. The Cowboys are fifth in the league in scoring averaging 29.6 points per game. It’s the Dallas defense that can give head coach Mike McCarthy some headaches. The Cowboys’ defense plays well at times, but they do tend to give up a lot of big plays because of their affinity for taking risks. The risk-taking has led to Dallas being ranked No. 6 in turnovers. That’s the good part. The bad part is that the Cowboys rank 24th in giving up explosive runs and 26th in explosive pass plays allowed. 

With Hill at quarterback, the Saints will have a better chance of keeping up with the Cowboys’ offense. In their last six games, the Saints are only 2-4 ATS. They haven’t been able to keep games close even in defeat. Dallas, on the other hand, has been able to cover the number quite often. In their last 15 games overall, the Cowboys are 11-4 ATS. 

The really interesting thing about Dallas is that since Kellen Moore became the team’s offensive coordinator, they have trended toward the Over. With Dak Prescott at quarterback, Moore and the Cowboys have gone Over the game total in 20 of 31 games. Remember, Thursday’s game will be played indoors.