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Savage: Its rare that we see the Dallas Cowboys, one of the biggest public teams in the NFL, this big a home dog in a primetime game. It's a testament to how hot the Saints have been, winning 10 straight and covering the last 9. These offenses are wildly different, but both rely heavily on the run game to move the ball. What I'm interested to see is which one of these defenses can stop the run, because both have defended the run well this year. New Orleans is currently #1 in rush yards allowed and #1 in yards per attempt, Dallas is tied for 3rd in both. So what will it be? Have the Saints finally become overvalued, or do they continue they get their 10th straight cover?
Rabbitt: I actually like Dallas to WIN not just cover here. NO has been rolling, absolutely rolling... but I think this is a different Dallas team than we had at the start of the year. No I am not talking about Cooper. Well not really... he is a certain upgrade over what they had, and that does give Zeke more room. However, what I'm really talking about is the defense and the O-line. I think Jones is going to eat Thomas up. If Brees doesn't have Thomas to throw to he is going to throw his complement of not so great other weapons outside of Kamara. As a UW-P alum I love Dan Arnold, but I don't think he is a serious threat to hurt this Dallas team. On the other side of the ball, I think Zeke + the o-line grinds down the Saints a bit. I get a metric ton of points and a team that I think is a legit shot to win. I am absolutely thrilled to take the points here.
Katz: I can't remember ever having a season where I am this out of sync with what the Cowboys are doing. I can't seem to get them correct. This is the first week that I really have a feel for them and I love the Cowboys in this spot. The Saints have been red hot offensively. I know the Cowboys are always a public team and they've won three straight, but the narrative heading into this game is the Saints will come in and do Saints things to the Cowboys. I am getting a ton of 2009 feelings from this contest. It's the rare Thursday night game where both teams are on a full week's rest so we don't have to worry about any of that. Not that we care too much about Pro Football Focus, but Byron Jones is there #1 rated cornerback for the 2018 season. While Michael Thomas is definitely one of the best receivers in the league, we've seen him struggle with elite corners before such as Xavier Rhodes. The Cowboys may not win this game, but I am confident they will put up a fight. I'll take a touchdown and a hook at home in prime time.
Savage: Yeah, I agree that the Cowboys are the right side. +7.5 is worth a bet, +7 I'm not so sure. We're only a few weeks removed from the Saints being only 4 or 4.5 point favorite in Cincinnati, now they're laying a TD on the road to a better team. They've played 3 of the last 4 games at home against 4 of the worst and/or most injured defenses in the league. Dallas is first decent defense they've played since week 7, when the Saints won by 1 point in Baltimore. You can't cover point spreads forever... eventually you get overvalued, and I think we've reached that point.
Rabbitt: The Tyron Smith Injury has me spooked, but I still like this game. Not my bet of the week anymore, but I will be wagering on this game and it would be a B-5 if I was able to put it in there.
Katz: Fun fact about the unstoppable Drew Brees. Just nine of his 29 touchdowns have come on the road.
Rabbitt: The Saints on the road certainly aren't the Saints at home. It has been that way for a long time.
Skol: I’m on the other side of this one. At least I am at 7. I thought the Saints were a good bet against last week...and I still think they were if the Falcons didn’t fumble 4 times in the Red Zone. I like next week at TB as a better spot to fade the Saints because like Atlanta it’s a division game. The Saints are the best team in the league and the Cowboys are probably not a playoff team. I don’t feel the outrage at a 7 point spread. The game is essentially being played on a neutral field. If the spread was 6.5 too much $ would be on the Saints. This just seems like such a big Dallas excitement because of an easy couple of games...fall flat on their face spot.
RC: I'm surprised at the strong Cowboys support!
I'm with the Saints all the way. The revival of beating wounded Philly, slipping by wounded ATL, and then not really dominating Colt McCoy...I'm not impressed -- especially with no Sean Lee or Tyron Smith tonight. If the Saints hit the gas pedal...how will Dallas keep up? I think the Saints have the obvious edges but then 'Jason Garrett' having to plan for the rolling Saints...he won't plan anything.
Dallas hasn't registered a win against a team with a winning record this year, except Washington but in the Colt McCoy era. This is Dallas's first game against a high-powered offense and I don't think they will keep up.
Week 10 -- Dallas pushed past Philly by a TD. The following week the Saints beat the Eagles so bad they were playing backups in the 4th quarter.
Week 11 -- Dallas late FG to slip past ATL. The following week the Saints toyed with ATL in a 14 point win.
I think Lattimore shuts down Amari and the Saints score 30+ and Dallas has no answers but 'the clapping'.
Rabbitt: I know you don't think controlling the clock and limiting position is a thing RC, but I think you are going to see some good old fashioned running game action against the Saints. I think that will keep the game close at a minimum.
RC: I'm down with that plan — just not so much against the #1 run defense in the nfl and a broken O-Line.
Teams try to run the ball for clock against LAR, KC, NO to do the same thing...it never works. Those teams can score in a minute. And it turns the run team into a down quick and desperate passing team which MIN, PIT, NE, LAC can try to get back in via the air but not this DAL passing game. For my money.
At -7.0 I like this. 7.5, I just hate that line for anything. -6.5 is cash money.
Savage: To be fair to Dallas though, they beat Philly and Atlanta on the road. The Saints toyed with/dominated those teams at home, and the wounded Eagles team Dallas faced in week 10 was even more wounded in week 11 after losing Ronald Darby. Those games aren't really a 1-to-1 comparison.
We've all been critical of the Amari Cooper trade (and for good reason), but it does seem like its helped Dak to have a guy on the field the defense needs to account for other than Zeke. The numbers back it up to some degree... his completion percentage and yards per attempt have both seen a significant bump since the trade, and that would be true even if Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had made the easy tackle on that 90 yard TD.
RC: Saints on the road...but in a dome here. I know they tumble some when outside, but a dome-ish fast track is a good thing for Saints-style not Dallas-style -- and will this be a true Dallas home field...or is this one of these games where half the stadium is made up of nearby New Orleans fans?
Skol: I like post-Bye Dallas with A. Cooper...they have certainly played better and I picked them and grabbed a couple of wins in recent weeks. Against some pretty bad teams. Big picture the Cowboys just don’t strike me as a serious NFC contender and not a team built to cover against the Saints. If they surprise me and score 20 maybe...but I don’t think they have that in them. New Orleans has a better chance of running the ball and controlling the clock than the Cowboys do IMO.