“Be Easy”

NFC Game Of The Week

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints

Cowboys: It’s easy to say the Los Angeles Rams are the best team in the NFC considering the represented the conference in the Super Bowl last year. But at this moment, I think the best team in the conference are these Dallas Cowboys and as usual, I can back up my claim with the facts. Their offense is extremely potent, something we haven’t seen from them dating back to the Tony Romo days which is saying something. New coaching can make all the difference. The Cowboys promoted Kellen Moore to be their new offensive coordinator after being their quarterbacks’ coach for a year. What a difference he’s made because they’re a more aggressive group on this side of the ball, but my biggest takeaway is how they aren’t just depending on Ezekiel Elliott to take the game over. Anybody who plays them should be very afraid to face the Cowboys later because Zeke is still getting acclimated to things especially since he missed all of camp. Just wait until he gets it going. What’s really impressed me has been the play of Dak Prescott. The Cowboys have simplified things and opened the playbook for him to control games with his arm. He’s somewhat looked like the guy that I watched at Mississippi State. It also helps when you have a nice group of weapons around you as well. The defense hasn’t missed a beat. They’re excellent when it comes to shutting down the run. Jaylon Smith has become the heart and soul of that defense. I’m so proud of how far he’s come because he was a projected top five pick entering the 2016 NFL Draft, then he unfortunately gets injured. This Summer, he got a contract extension and he’s been a key contributor to this defense. The Cowboys will look for a 4-0 start in a Sunday night tilt at the Superdome.

Saints: So, I can admit I was thinking like most of America when they went into Seattle last Sunday. There’s no Drew Brees and there’s no way they can function without him, right? We were all wrong. That’s a huge win for them on the road in a place where they’ve struggled significantly. After week two was over, I was asked what team without their starting quarterback would be able to succeed and I said these New Orleans Saints because of two things: One, the coach! Sean Payton is one of the four best head coaches in the league and one of the best offensive minded guys we have in the business and two, they have a serviceable backup which is necessary nowadays in the league in Teddy Bridgewater who has experience as a starter. He led the Minnesota Vikings to a division title back in 2015. Sean is simply telling him to be himself and to play to his skillset which is correct. Nobody can do what Drew does nor can it be duplicated. The Saints had a perfect offensive game plan in that game Sunday. It was a lot of quick passes and running the ball, so they played the underneath game which worked in their favor. I understand that it’s early right now, but the defense is struggling early on which isn’t a good sign because their best offense player is already out and having a guy like that can cover up the holes along with sustaining those long drives. In other words when the Saints struggle defensively, their offense is their defense when number nine is on the field. Just when you think another team will take over in the NFC South, Tampa loses, the Falcons showed more inconsistency and the Panthers won, but at the top, it’s still these Saints. We will see how tough this team is on Sunday with a complete Cowboys team in town.

Cowboys Player to Watch: Randall Cobb– This was such a solid signing for them. He’s a veteran that can be used in so many ways from the backfield, wide on a perimeter and in the slot. He commands a lot of attention from a defense which can free things up for Zeke in the flat and Amari Cooper down the field. Talk about a chain mover, that’s exactly his role within this offense.

Saints Player to Watch: Jared Cook– I think he can become Teddy’s security blanket. Sean will find ways to get him the ball in space. Create mismatches with him with a linebacker or safety and get him the ball, especially in the RedZone. He’s also a good blocker in the running game.

Final Analysis: This is a big game for both teams. I think it’s safe to say they both know each other well. This game also features two of the best running backs in the game in Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott. Speaking of the running game, I think this one comes down to which team can stop the others ground attack. If the Saints want to improve defensively, this is their chance to do so. They need to get after Dak early and often. He’s looked too comfortable in the pocket. The secondary needs to play tight across the board. The Cowboys first order of business is to limit Alvin Kamara. Don’t let him get free in the open field and most importantly, don’t underestimate Teddy. He may not be Brees, but he can do enough to move the ball down the field. Payton needs to be more aggressive with his play-calling.

Prediction: Saints 24 Cowboys 21