Cowboys vs. Saints Week 13 Picks: Taysom Time in New Orleans
Both the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are smarting from a litany of injuries and embarrassing Thanksgiving Day losses. Find out who we're backing on Thursday night in our Cowboys versus Saints picks.
(Editor's Note: Saints RB Alvin Kamara, RT Ryan Ramczyk, and LT Terron Armstead are reportedly out for Thursday night's game due to injuries.)
Unfortunately, injuries and availability will play a large role in the betting lean on this matchup. Both the Cowboys and Saints are heavily banged up.
Dallas should have offensive stars Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott back in time for Thursday, but head coach Mike McCarthy will miss the game due to COVID-19.
It appears as though New Orleans will also have RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram back in the fold, but of even greater significance, the Saints will likely turn to dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill under center.
Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 13 matchup between the Cowboys and Saints (odds via Caesars; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Cowboys vs. Saints Game Info
Date/Time: Thursday, Dec. 2, 8:20 p.m. ETTV: FOX, NFL NetworkLocation: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LAWeather: Indoors
Cowboys vs. Saints Odds Analysis
The line opened with the Cowboys favored by 4 and ballooned to as much as -6 at certain books on Sunday before it settled back at -4, likely after news that Hill had been taking the first-team snaps at practice on Monday.
The total has remained steady at 47.5 since opening briefly at 48.
Cowboys vs. Saints Picks
Saints +5 (-110) ??Under 47.5 (-110) ???
SEE ALSO: Cowboys vs. Saints Prop Picks
Cowboys vs. Saints Predictions
Saints +5 (-110)
New Orleans finds itself in an unfamiliar position. The Saints have lost four straight games for the first time since 2015 and now sit outside of the playoff picture with just six weeks left in the regular season.
They've chosen to break glass in case of emergency as it's being reported that Hill will likely be the starter on Thursday. He'll replace Trevor Siemian, who led New Orleans in each of those four losses.
Hill has seen time at quarterback, fullback, tight end, receiver, returner, and punt blocker, but has thrown just eight passes this season. He hasn't played since Week 10 due to a foot injury, but the Saints are nearing the point of desperation. Though he is less experienced than Siemian as a passer, he brings a rushing dynamic and unpredictability to the Saints offense.
The Swiss Army Knife started four games at quarterback last season in place of Drew Brees and led the team to a 3-1 record. He filled in admirably, completing 82 of 114 passes for 834 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also ran the ball 39 times and scored four times on the ground.
Hill's presence - along with the likely returns of Kamara, Ingram, and stud right tackle Ryan Ramczyk - should open up the deep reaches of head coach Sean Payton's playbook.
The home team is 5-0 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams. The underdog is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 matchups.
Under 47.5 (-110)
It was evident on Thanksgiving how much the Cowboys offense missed the presence of Cooper, Lamb, and even Elliott, who left early in the overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders with just 25 rushing yards on nine carries. Quarterback Dak Prescott finished with a QBR of 46.5 and the offense stalled, going just 3-for-13 on third down.
Prescott has struggled historically against Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. In two previous meetings, Prescott was held to just one touchdown pass, one interception, and was sacked eight times. The Cowboys offense managed just 23 total points in those two games.
The Under hit in each of these teams' last three meetings. It also cashed in four of the Cowboys' last five games, though the Over hit in four of the last five for the Saints.
Expect the Saints' 12th-ranked scoring defense to again frustrate the Cowboys offense and for Hill and Kamara to do enough to keep the margin close, at the very least, and perhaps even pull out the outright victory.
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Cowboys-Saints picks made 11/30/2021 at 9:09 a.m. ET