Dallas (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) and New Orleans (5-6, 5-6) both try to turn their recent struggles around when they meet at the Superdome in an important NFC clash. The Cowboys are 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four, while the Saints have lost four straight — their longest losing streak in six years.
Opening Odds Analysis
A week after being a touchdown underdog at home for the first time in 16 years, the Saints find themselves as sizable home dogs once again. Oddsmakers opened the Cowboys as 5-point favorites, which would be the third-most points New Orleans has been spotted at the Superdome since 2015.
Dallas News & Notes
Head coach Mike McCarthy won’t be on the sidelines Thursday night after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will serve as interim head coach against the Saints, although the team did note that McCarthy will still prepare the game plan through virtual meetings.
A lot of those meetings will likely focus on how to get the running game going again. Dallas’s 1-3 SU and ATS slide has coincided with less production on the ground, where the Cowboys have not gained 100 yards in four of their last five games. Ezekiel Elliott is clearly hampered by a knee injury that limited him to just nine carries in each of Dallas’s last two games, with backup Tony Pollard receiving more carries in last week’s loss to the Raiders.
The run game could get a boost from the possible return of receivers CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and Amari Cooper (COVID-19), which would force the Saints to respect Dallas’s downfield passing game and not just focus on stopping the run. It would also be a big help for quarterback Dak Prescott, who hasn’t been nearly as accurate following a calf strain injury at the end of October.
New Orleans News & Notes
In the midst of their longest losing streak since 2015, the Saints might be making a change at quarterback. New Orleans is 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS since Trevor Siemian took over the starting role following an injury to Jameis Winston, and coach Sean Payton hinted that Taysom Hill could supplant Siemian this week.
“We’ll look at everything right now,” Payton told the Associated Press. “Obviously, we have to.”
In Siemian’s defense, life hasn’t been easy without superstar running back Alvin Kamara, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury. Kamara was a limited participant in practice Monday, as was fellow running back Mark Ingram. With both backs sidelined last week against Buffalo, the Saints managed just 44 rushing yards and didn’t convert a third down until the third quarter.
New Orleans has historically been an extremely tough underdog at home, going 8-2-1 ATS in its last 11 in that situation — including an upset of the Bucs earlier this year. But if the Saints are going to have a shot in this one, they’ll need to get off to a better start. New Orleans has not scored a first-quarter point in four straight games.
How Dallas Will Cover
The Cowboys have trailed by double digits in the first half of each of their last three losses, but that’s unlikely to happen again vs New Orleans’ struggling offense. If Dallas isn’t down big early, the ’Boys can stay committed to getting their seventh-ranked ground game back on track.
How New Orleans Will Cover
New Orleans clearly needs a spark to turn things around, and that could happen with a return by Kamara, a change at quarterback or both. The Saints defense can also swing the game by forcing some turnovers by a Dallas attack that has coughed up the ball at least twice in five of its last seven games.
Computer Pick: Saints +4
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