The Dallas Cowboys are really beat up as they head into this Sunday night meeting with the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Let’s look at what we know, who’s hurt & the trends.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT): The Dallas Cowboys (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the New Orleans to face the hapless New Orleans Saints (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) in this primetime Sunday Night Football game which has lost much of its luster on the schedule with Cowboys QB Tony Romo out and Saints QB Drew Brees a big question mark with a serious Shoulder-injury. A Point Spread for this game has been slow to go up this week because of the Injuries to the two signal callers, but the host Saints are listed as 4-point favorites over the Cowboys (CG Technology) with the Total set at 46½ where it is up (Wednesday). The Money Line odds and all other Props here have not yet been released as it’s tough for oddsmakers to do their jobs not knowing if Brees will be able to start or if the Saints end up having to go with backup Luke McCown again.
The Dallas Cowboys (33/1 to win Super Bowl, Ladbrokes) head into this game incredibly beat up, thus the line with the winless team with their own QB problems actually being favored. QB Tony Romo (Collarbone, I-R), WR Dez Bryant (Foot, Expected to return late October) and Rookie DE Randy Gregory (Nebraska; Ankle, Expected to return late October) are all out here for the Cowboys and TE Jason Witten is always beat-up and plays when other NFL players would sit while LB Rolando McClain and DE Greg Hardy are both serving the last games of their respective 4-game Suspensions. And, DE Jeremy Mincey (Concussion) and G Ronald Leary (Groin) are both listed as Questionable. So the Cowboys and Head Coach Jason Garrett (37-39-1 ATS) will have to see if his team can top the Saints with Offensive players like backup QB Brandon Weeden, RB Joseph Randle, RB Darren McFadden, WR Lance Dunbar, WR Terrance Williams and WR Cole Beasley. The Dallas Defense—has allowed 25 ppg and ranks #20 in NFL—will have to play much better than it has, but luckily for America’s Team, they are facing one of the worst teams in the league. Expect the Cowboys to continue to try to have some success running the ball behind that big OL.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints learned last week from Dr. James Andrews that starting QB Drew Brees (55-48-2 ATS at Home) had a Bruised Rotator Cuff, and Brees said a week ago that there was “a reasonable possibility” he would play last Sunday against the Panthers. He didn’t. Now, flash forward to the Present (Wednesday), and we have most sports books here in Las Vegas, Offshore and Online without a Point Spread or Total for this Sunday night, primetime NBC affair. And reports out of the Saints camp today are (again) saying that Brees is testing the injured shoulder and arm again and will make a decision later on facing the Saints here. So, who really knows. Typical NFL stuff. Brees (and the team) may already know he can’t go, and backup Luke McCown (31/38, 310 yards vs. Panthers) did a pretty darn good job in Brees’ stead at Carolina last Sunday. Besides Brees, New Orleans also has Injuries to LB Dannell Ellerbe (Toe, Questionable) and G Jahri Evans (Knee) while Who Dat Nation has four Defensive players either out injured indefinitely or currently on the Injured-Reserve List (S Jairus Byrd, S Rafael Bush, CB Keenan Lewis, CB PJ Williams). If Brees or McCown start for the Saints (250/1 to win Super Bowl) here, they will have WR Marques Colston, WR Brandin Cooks, RB Mark Ingram, TE Josh Hill and TE Ben Wilson to work with, among others. But this team is a statistical enigma, a team who best RB (Ingram) has run for just 126 yards so far this season and whose leading Wide Receiver (Sooks) still hasn’t caught a TD heading into Week 4. Weird. Yet, New Orleans has scored 19, 19 and 22 points somehow, possibly out of sheer attrition. So against a Defense which has given up points like the Cowboys has (26, 10, 28), it seems the hosts will be in the 20 to 27 point range just because they need to wake up, have nothing to lose at 0-3 and, if McCown goes, will have a QB with a solid week under his belt ready to make it two straight.
Series Trends and Expectations
The last time these two met here (2013), New Orleans crunched the Cowboys, 49-17 as 6-point chalks, while last season when these two played in Dallas, the Cowboys rode off into the horizon with a 38-17 win as 3-point underdogs. Trend-wise, the Saints are 8-3 ATS the L11 vs. the Cowboys and New Orleans is an impressive 5-1 ATS the L6 here at Home in the Superdome. The Saints D has allowed 31, 26 and 27 and their first three games, while the Cowboys Defense showed some weakness against Atlanta in the 2nd Half last week, so backing the Over seems worth consideration here. The L6 meetings in this series have had at least 41 points (55, 66, 65, 57, 41, 59), although those numbers were carved with a healthy Romo and a healthy Brees. It seems the best way to approach this game, if desired to be bet on, is with two smallest-sized Straight bets on the Over and taking Dallas with the 4 points in a game it can win. With so many missing parts and mystery, this is really a tough game for Oddsmakers, Sports Book Directors, Handicappers and Sports Gamblers alike to get a decent beat on.
Predictetd Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 30 New Orleans Saints 27
NFL Pick: Cowboys +4 & Over 46½ (CG Technology)