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Somehow this 7-4 Dallas Cowboys team is still two games ahead in the NFC East, but their 26th ranked defense looks vulnerable despite containing some top-notch talent, a team better against the run than the pass that must continue to take advantage of QB Dak Prescott’s #1 ranked offense, although a recent covid outbreak could wreak havoc on them this week.
One of the main reasons for the New Orleans Saints’ huge Thanksgiving Day loss to the Buffalo Bills, 36-6, was their lack of a run game in that one (44 total rushing yards) and now Taysom Hill has been taking first-team QB snaps in practice all week as the banged-up running back corps tries to heal up on their mini-bye, including dual-threat Alvin Kamara who has injured his knee.
These two NFC rivals have played each other 30 prior times, with the New Orleans Saints winning 13 of those games and the Dallas Cowboys winning 17 of the games. Check out all of the Week 13 predictions, here!
Tough to consider yourself a playoff contender when your defense is ranked 26th in the NFL like the Cowboys after allowing opponents to gain almost 370 total yards of offense each game, though they are thirteenth in scoring allowed with opponents earning under 23 points per game.
It’s an odd thing given all the defensive talent that the Cowboys possess including LB Micah Parsons, CB Trevon Diggs, and LB Leighton Vander Esch, a squad that DC Dan Quinn is still organizing into a unit that can begin to match the quality level of the offense.
The good news is their facing the Saints who are ranked 27th on offense with huge questions remaining under center, so Dallas must anticipate both options at QB (Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian) and game plan accordingly, their mini-bye from Thanksgiving a huge help.
Just when the Saints’ starting QB Jameis Winston was off to a 5-2 start to the season, he injured the ACL in his knee which ended his season, an unfortunate fact that has caused the team to go on a four game losing streak ever since.
So backup Trevor Siemian has taken over and struggled to earn a win after completing just 57 percent of his passes though his interception (3) to touchdown (9) ratio was not too bad, a four year veteran with little starting experience appearing to be in over his head.
Now, this week backup QB Taysom Hill was taking first-team snaps, a sign that HC Sean Payton could be going in a different direction against these Cowboys, with the multi-functional Hill able to pass and catch the ball while also scrambling for first downs.
Cowboys’ linebacker Micah Parsons sure doesn’t play like a rookie, the speedy defensive master already able to dissect most plays instantaneously and somehow get where he needs to be to make the open field tackle somewhat with ease.
An instant team leader, Parsons is a Penn State alum who is 6’ 3” and 245 pounds, a 22-year-old powerhouse with fast legs and strong tackling skills, this season so far with 9 sacks and 23 quarterback hits plus two forced fumbles and 67 total tackles with 15 of those for a loss.
The Cowboys are ranked low on defense but with a franchise player like Parsons, that can’t last for long as DC Dan Quinn begins to find more and more ways to use this new playmaker in the defensive game plan.
It’s Saints backup QB Taysom Hill’s fifth NFL season and New Orleans is 2-2 in the games that he has started this season, although he does not always start under center, the multi-tooled player used in a variety of ways by his biggest fan, HC Sean Payton.
This year Hill has touched the ball 24 times for 156 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns while also throwing the ball 8 times and completing 7 of those passes for 56 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, numbers tough to improve with his limited QB playing time.
Now, this week it could be Hill starting for the Saints at home against the Cowboys, a true test to see if he has what it takes to carry the torch from this point forward, and a win here keeps them alive in the playoff wildcard hunt where right now they sit on the bubble behind the Falcons.
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|Cowboys vs Saints Information|
|Teams||Dallas Cowboys vs New Orleans Saints|
|Location||Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA|
|Time||Thursday, December 2, 2021; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX / NFL Network|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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