The Dallas Cowboys may be experiencing some turbulence, but that's nothing compared to the New Orleans Saints, who have beaten the NFL odds just once at 0-3 SU.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 30: 12-7 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 6-9 Total
Brandon Weeden didn't do a bad job after all. Thrust into the starting gig for the Dallas Cowboys while Tony Romo heals from a broken collarbone, Weeden connected on 22 of his 26 passes against the Atlanta Falcons (+1 away) on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their defense failed to show up in a 39-28 loss.
Not that Weeden was the second coming of Troy Aikman out there. It was very much a “game manager” situation, using the protection afforded to him by the offensive line to make a lot of short, high-percentage passes. Perhaps Weeden will be able to replicate that performance this Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) when the Cowboys visit arguably the worst team in football, the New Orleans Saints. Or perhaps not: This game is circled on our NFL odds board at press time.
It's hard to set a line when you don't know who the starting quarterbacks are. The Cowboys may decide to go with Matt Cassel on Sunday, after acquiring him in a trade with the Buffalo Bills last week. But the bigger question mark is on the other sideline, where Drew Brees and his sore shoulder are trying to get ready for Week 4 after having to sit out Week 3. There are conflicting opinions about the severity of Brees' rotator cuff strain; Brees himself is “very optimistic” he'll face the Cowboys, but outside observers think otherwise.
Brees was scheduled to test out his shoulder during Tuesday's practice, so you may already have word on his status by the time you read this. If he's not ready, Luke McCown will once again take his place. McCown had a strong game last week against the Carolina Panthers, going 31-of-38 for 310 yards, a TD and a pick. That was good enough for eighth place on the Total DYAR charts for Week 3 (+125 DYAR). But the Saints defense was lousy as usual in a 27-22 defeat. At least they covered this time as 10-point road dogs.
Use the Force
Depending on how the odds shake out, McCown could make the Saints worth putting in our NFL picks this week. He might not be at the same level as Brees, but McCown has shown the ability to keep a good offense afloat – like when he made three starts for the 2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in place of Jeff Garcia, who went to the Pro Bowl that year. The improved Saints offensive line will help keep McCown upright, as it did against Carolina.
Until we know more about the quarterback situation, all we can do is speculate and prepare for what may happen. We'll be back later this week with our picks against the spread and total; in the meantime, may the prolate spheroid be with you.