Saints fighting to hang on to the No. 1 seed in the NFC
November 29, 2018 9:22 AM
by Bob Christ
For the fourth straight week the NFL Thursday calendar features a game of major importance when the New Orleans Saints face the host Dallas Cowboys.
The Saints will be fighting to hang on to the No. 1 seed in the NFC while Dallas is looking to enhance its lead in the NFC East.
Both teams enter with a full week's rest after spread-beating Thanksgiving wins against hated division rivals. And weather won't be a factor, of course, with the game in the JerryDome.
Now for a closer look at the showdown. The odds are courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook:
New Orleans Saints (10-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Time: 5:20 p.m. PST
Line: Saints by 7.5 (52)
Facts: New Orleans comes in on a league-best 10-game win streak and also is 9-0 vs. the line since a close-call home win over Cleveland in Week 2. The last team to have a nine-game ATS winning streak was the 2016 Cowboys in Weeks 2-10. They then failed to cover their next four... Flashback: The Super Saints of 2009 were 13-0 when the Cowboys visited the Superdome and won 24-17 as a 7.5-point dog. Four years later in the same building, New Orleans humiliated Dallas 49-17 as a 6.5-point choice, getting an NFL-record 40 first downs. Dallas had 9... Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, who sat out Monday drills (probably, hip), is the league's top rusher and averaging 131.3 yards the past three games (5.8 norm), tying in with the arrival of WR Amari Cooper, who had 180 yards last week vs. Washington.
Analysis: The Cowboys were puffing out their chests after taking over the East lead over the Redskins with their 31-23 victory. But they covered by only half a point despite having a plus-3 turnover edge while facing an emergency backup QB with three-days' prep time. Now they'll face the league's top-rated passer, who's getting back WR Tre-Quan Smith (foot), who sat out last week's 31-17 win over Atlanta but had 157 yards on 13 catches the previous Sunday vs. Philly. What could also thwart the Cowboys is their hurting OL. They have been without their top center all year and now two guards and star OLT Tyron Smith are questionable. That's bad news for Elliott and slow-to-throw QB Dak Prescott, who's tied for the league league with 38 sacks. The Saints will be without their standout OLT, also, but Brees has an absurdly quick release and has the league's second best sack rate.
Forecast: Saints 38, Cowboys 21