By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs New Orleans Saints
Sunday – September 29 – 7:20 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA
Records Before the Game
Dallas Cowboys (3-0)
New Orleans Saints (2-1)
It was all about that cover. The Cowboys covered and the Patriots didn’t so…
Through three weeks, the Cowboys offense HAS played some pretty not good defenses. The Giants, Washington, and the Dolphins. Last week, it took a half to warm up, but in the end, dot-dot-dot, cover. The offense has taken care of business in each of those games, this is a completely different animal here in form of New Orleans. They are a much, MUCH more complete team. Top to bottom, the best organization, best every category possible that has been put in front of the Cowboys in 2019. Obviously, this is NOT the same monster the Cowboys would be playing had an impromptu high-five between Aaron Donald and Drew Brees not happened, but this is why they traded to have Teddy Bridgewater on the team, to avoid a massive drop off. Bridgewater had a very respectable road win, leading the Saints into Seattle and won handedly (that final score is BS, the Saints had that game WAY wrapped up).
The Saints have guys all over their defense that can stick with what the Cowboys will go with. Marshon Lattimore, Eli Apple, and Vonn Bell in the secondary aren’t going to allow too much space between Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb to get free. The linebackers are all names: Kiko Alonso, DeMario Davis, and AJ Klein, and will attempt to slow Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and the spring-chicken Jason Witten. The biggest test will be what the Saints can line up across from the Dallas offensive line.
Cameron Jordan is a top-ten player at his position. I like the Mario Edwards Jr. addition, and I loved Marcus Davenport coming out of San Antonio, I figured he could grow into a quick-twitch pass rusher in the mold of players like the Denver pass rushers of the last couple of seasons, Shane Ray, Bradley Chubb, and Von Miller. It’ll be a great battle in the trench when the Cowboys are going to be on offense. It’s the most complete unit they’ll face for a week. The circumstance of this game being in New Orleans, on Sunday night, will be a huge boost towards the effectiveness of the defense and should really be the first test of the communication for Kellen Moore and Dak Prescott.
Last season, the validation of the Dallas Cowboys’ defense was the last season battle between these teams. The defense held the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to just 63 yards off of 18 carries. They also forced Drew Brees to a 14.9 QBR (I’m not going to go back and look up old QBR numbers, I’m going to say, that’s the lowest Brees finished a game with in a long time).
The Cowboys’ defense endured Saquon Barkley week one; they locked down Terry McLaurin in week two; and after a spirited first half last week against the Dolphins, the Cowboys put the full stop on Miami. The Saints are a balanced team, with Alvin Kamara being possibly the biggest dual threat back in the league, and through the air Michael Thomas is a top five receiver in the game. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t going to put the ball in jeopardy, he’s never been a risky gunslinger (I still don’t understand why he’s just been thrown away). It’s going to be down to the Hotboyz, to get to Teddy and make him make mistakes, because he’s not likely to do it on his own.
The Cowboys are getting 2.5 on the road, on Sunday night, but the “football index” has the Saints with a 55% chance to win. So, it’s a pick ‘em. And I agree, I think the offense from the Cowboys will look like they have been for years, and they’ll lean on the ground game and fire off of play-action. I say the Cowboys rob a win, while looking human at times.
Dallas – 24
New Orleans – 20