If not for a late touchdown drive both of these teams would be coming off of shocking losses. Instead we have the Cowboys coming off a last second win over the Vikings and on top of their division at 5-4. They will be headed to New Orleans to face a Saints team coming off an upset loss to the Jets. The Cowboys faced a late game scenario in which quarterback Tony Romo has been known to fail over the years, however on this day he was able to give his team the win. After an 11 yard touchdown by Adrian Peterson gave the Vikings a late 23-20 lead. In the first possession following the touchdown Romo threw an interception and reminded all Cowboy fans all of all of his previous failures. Luckily for him the defense was able to get him the ball back on his own 10-yard line with 2:44. After a 34 yard catch by Dez Bryant they were in field goal range and instead of settling for the field goal they managed to find the end zone for the win. The Saints would find no such luck in their comeback attempt against a determined Jets team. Chris Ivory consistently ran the ball for 139 yards and a touchdown and the defense shined with 2 interceptions and a fourth and inches defensive stand. The Saints looked out of sync all game and it remains to be seen whether it was just a bad week or a sign of things to come.
The one problem that the Saints do not have is at Tight End where Jimmy Graham scored 2 more touchdowns and continues his march towards surpassing Tony Gonzalez as the best tight end of all time if he continues his torrid pace. The offense as a whole does not have much else in the area of consistency. Between running backs Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas they only had 10 rushing attempts. They are going to need to find more balance in their offense if they want to be successful. They have made improvements in the defensive backfield but they have had a tough time against the run and will need a strong run defense if they want to have a successful playoff run.
The Cowboys are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL. Romo, despite his failures in several big moments is statistically one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the league. Tight End Jason Witten is a mainstay while Demarco Murray is an elite tailback and Dez Bryant is a Top 5 receiver. Defensively they don’t have many “star” players outside of Demarcus Ware and are in need of help in the secondary and on the defensive line in order to be a serious Superbowl contender. They sit atop a weak division with their 5-4 record and can use this game as a true measure of their abilities.
Pick: Saints -6.5
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