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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Showdown with Big D

The Saints were outcoached, outmanned, and out-physicaled at the New York Jets this past Sunday. As a result, they lost, 26-20, dropping their record to 6-2 and slimming their lead over the Carolina Panthers (5-3) in the NFC South division to one game.

Sorry, Saints fans. The Cowboys cheerleaders won't be there Sunday night. 1


No team wants to lose – ever. But if the Saints had to have two losses, the two that they lost were the least detrimental. Both the Patriots (7-2) and Jets (5-4) are good opponents. The Saints were on the road. Most importantly, they are both AFC opponents, meaning the impact of those losses on any tiebreaking scenarios is negligible at best.

This matchup against an up-and-down Dallas Cowboys team (5-4) on Sunday Night Football is important. The Saints cannot afford to give any more ground to the Panthers. With the Cowboys being an NFC opponent, this has an impact on tiebreaker scenarios that could determine the division championship and/or home field advantage throughout the playoffs down the line.

The Cowboys are strange fruit. They find innovative ways to lose games that they should win. The key is that they should have won said games. It is only a matter of time before the Cowboys stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.



The Saints are missing, or could be missing, some key cogs to their offensive machine that makes the offense lethal. Primary wide receiver Marques Colston (27 rec., 342 yds., 1 TD) missed last week’s game at the Jets with a knee injury. Jimmy Graham (49 rec., 746 yds., 10 TD) has been stuck in a lower gear the past two weeks (in spite of eye-popping fantasy football performances) with a foot injury that will likely linger for the rest of the season. Darren Sproles (37 rec., 368 yds., 1 TD) suffered a concussion early in last week’s game and is questionable for Sunday night.

These are important players that are interrelated in the Saints offensive scheme. The reason some receivers get open is often because of the route running abilities and downfield and/or positional threats posed by other receivers. No player on an offense exists in a vacuum.

I suppose half a "Graham" of Jimmy is more than a whole pound of any other tight end (rimshot). 3


While a win over the hapless Minnesota Vikings (1-7) is not headline news, it helped restore some of the confidence that was likely stripped in the last second loss at the Detroit Lions two Sundays ago. Still, the Cowboys have the same old problems dogging them – patchwork offensive line play, an complete absence of depth at the running back position behind DeMarco Murray (459 yds., 3 TD, 4.8 avg.), and Swiss cheese on defense behind the front four.

Saints fans have cause to raise an eyebrow at their team, having lost two out of their last three. However, the Who Dat Nation should not have any cause for alarm, barring any additional significant injuries. The Saints have a significant stake in the outcome of Sunday’s nationally televised game and I expect them to leave the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with their stake intact.

Say what you want about Dez, but the Cowboys took the lead after he blew his stack and got the ball more. Get your popcorn ready! 4

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