The Show Must Go On

Special Preview- Week 13

New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys

Saints: They continue the streak and as of now, it sits at ten games after their victory on Thanksgiving night against the Falcons. It’s one thing when the New Orleans Saints are carving a defense up with their offense and you expect that because of the consistency they display on a regular basis and that’s great and all, but when they’re able to clamp down and shut you down defensively, there isn’t a single team in the league that can beat them and they’re even scarier when they have both sides of the football playing well and that’s exactly what happened against Atlanta last week. When I think of the one group that will determine the success of this team moving forward for a run during the playoffs, there’s only one that really comes to mind and that’s the Saints offensive line which I feel is the best in our game right now and let me go further into why I said that. When you watch the Saints and their offense, the one thing that probably comes to your mind is that Drew probably has all day to throw the ball and you’re right, he does! He drops back into that pocket and basically has an entire day to throw the football. Next, to the team that won it all in 2009, this is the best group that Sean Payton has had and what I like is that they’re having fun but they know that there’s a time and a place for being loose and being serious. The NFC South at this point is pretty much wrapped up and they’ll look for win 11 on the year when they travel to Dallas for a big-time showdown against a Cowboys team that’s recently found themselves.

Cowboys: They’ve now won three games in a row and in the crazy, wacky yet unpredictable NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys are now in the drivers’ seat of the division sitting in first place. Looking at the winning streak, they won two of the three on the road against the Eagles and the Falcons, both were playoff teams a season ago and things like that stand out because when you can go into their house and get wins, it shows you’re a mentally tough football team and those were games that they had to grind out to come on top. The formula for success for the Cowboys is really simple and that’s being able to battle in the trenches up front with your offensive line and running the football. Ezekiel Elliott is their best player and has become one of the best all-around running backs in the league today and when you can establish him and get him his touches early and often, good things will happen. Feed the beast and you’ll be rewarded. A lot of people questioned the Amari Cooper move and what he’d bring to the table and I could understand the questions but now, he’s become comfortable within the Cowboys offensive system and had his best game since the trade last week against Washington when he caught eight passes for 180 yards and scored two touchdowns. They’ve needed a guy to go down the field and make plays and he’s doing just that. The defense has been so consistent this year and I love this Cowboys front seven. It all starts and ends with Demarcus Lawrence who’s really become one of the best defensive linemen in the game. However, the engines of this defense are led by two young players in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch who’s been playing some really good football and filled in nicely for Sean Lee. This is a huge game for the Cowboys on Thursday night with the best team in the league in town.

Saints Player To Watch: Terron Armstead– He’ll have his hands full trying to keep Lawrence out of the Saints offensive backfield. This is going to be a true test when he defends one of the NFL’s best at his position.

Cowboys Player To Watch: Michael Gallup– I’m liking what I’m seeing from him and he’s been targeted more over the last four or five games. He’s seen more of the field than Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns. He can take the tops off of zone covers and he’s sure-handed and moves well in space.

Final Analysis: This was supposed to be the return of one Dez Bryant to Dallas, but an Achilles tear sidelined him before he could even make his debut but as the title of this preview states, the show must go on. This is a huge game in the NFC of two first-place teams and we’ll also see two great running backs featured in Kamara and Zeke. The Saints need to amp up the defense as they did last week and they need to keep Dak in that pocket and not allow him to buy any type of time with his feet. It’s key for the Cowboys to limit the receiving of Alvin Kamara and if they can, pressure Brees and throw off his timing.

Prediction: Saints 31 Cowboys 20