Dallas (2-1) at New Orleans (0-3)
When: Sunday, October 4th 2015
Where: Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Time: 8:30 ET
TV: NBC Radio: XM 225, 226, 88
The New Orleans Saints are hoping to avoid an 0-4 start for the third time in nine years when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The Saints were without QB Drew Brees in last week’s 27-22 loss in Carolina. Brees is nursing a bruised rotator cuff, but declared himself ready to go this week. New Orleans desperately needs a win tonight and I’m sure their fans are craving one also. Historically a dominant home team, the Saints have now lost 6 games in a row in the Superdome. Not only are the Saints 0-3, but they went 0-4 in the preseason as well. The Saints play at Philadelphia, Atlanta, and at Indianapolis after this game, so this is as close to a must-win game as they come. The defense has been horrendous thus far allowing 397 yards a game. That ranks 29th in the league. On offense the running game needs to step up. Mark Ingram has struggled to get going on the ground, but the former Heisman Trophy winner has matched Brandin Cooks for the team lead with 16 receptions. Coach Sean Payton told the team’s official website that they’d like to expand the role of running back C.J. Spiller, who has been limited to 11 yards on 4 carries and three receptions for 41 yards in two games since returning from knee surgery. Khiry Robinson, who leads the team with a 4.0 rushing average, had 105 total yards in last year’s loss to Dallas.
The Cowboys aren’t feeling sorry for the Saints and Drew Brees. Their quarterback Tony Romo won’t return until around Week 11 with a broken collarbone. Brandon Weeden filled in last week and went 22-for-26, but was unable to stretch the field in the Cowboys loss to Atlanta. Dallas led 28-17 at halftime, but couldn’t hold the lead. Weeden has lost nine starts in a row now. Running backs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar enjoyed career games last week. Randle ran for for 87 yards and three touchdowns while Dunbar had 10 catches for 100 yards. Despite letting up 39 points last week, the Cowboys are still ranked 8th in the league in total defense and rushing yards allowed. Tight-end Jason Witten is the Cowboys go-to guy now that Dez Bryant is hurt. Witten has 21 catches already and 2 touchdowns, but his 8.6 yards a catch is currently a career low. Dallas still leads the NFC East, but things get a lot tougher after tonight. They get the Patriots, Giants, Seahawks, and Eagles in the next four games. With a win tonight, Dallas would set a franchise record with 11 straight road wins.
It’s a shame we couldn’t get Dallas’ best for this prime-time game, but honestly, it probably would have been a route. Tonight’s contest will be more evenly matched. Two streaks will end tonight – Dallas’ road win streak, and the Saints home losing streak.
Pick: Saints -3