Thanksgiving Day NFC East Football Previews – New Orleans Saints vs Dallas Cowboys
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Saints at Cowboys Matchup / Lines
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Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 25 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Dallas Cowboy Stadium, Arlington TX
Broadcast: Nationally on FOX
Saints at Cowboys lines by SI
Pointspread: Saints -4
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The New Orleans Saints are looking to feast on Dallas in the Cowboy’s traditional Thanksgiving Day game. Kickoff from Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington is set for 4:30 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Do not look now but New Orleans suddenly appears primed and ready to defend its Super Bowl title after a less than super start. The Saints have won for out their last five games including a 34-19 romp over Seattle their last time out in a game that they covered as an 11-point home favorite. New Orleans is now 7-3 straight-up for the season and 5-5 against the spread. The Saints are currently tied with Tampa Bay and one game behind Atlanta (8-2) in the NFC South.
The key to New Orleans turnaround has been the elevated play of QB Drew Brees, who is starting to regain the form that took the Saints all the way last year. The team has also been hampered by injuries, but with the expected return of RB Reggie Bush this week, the offense should be even more potent than it has been over the past few weeks.
The Saints are currently ranked fifth overall and third in passing, but they have fallen to 26th in running the ball in the absence of Bush and Pierre Thomas, who is still sidelined with an ankle injury. The defense should also get a boost from the return of S Darren Sharper, who is currently listed as probable for Thursday’s game.
Dallas dug itself an early hole with its 1-7 start, but interim head coach Jason Garrett is a perfect 2-0 in relief of Wade Phillips, who was let go after the Cowboys humiliating 45-7 loss to Green Bay. The big question is, were their wins over New York (Giants) and Detroit a result of a temporary spark, or is this team ready to play up to its capabilities on a week-to-week basis? The fact that everyone on this team is still playing for their job has appeared to provide the necessary motivation for the latter to be the case.
The biggest surprise has been the play of back-up quarterback John Kitna, who is filling in for the injured Tony Romo. Kitna has thrown for 474 yards and six touchdowns in the last two games. More importantly he has only thrown one interception and been sacked two times, which is a dramatic improvement from Romo’s seven interceptions and seven sacks in the Cowboys first five games.
New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in its last five games as a favorite and 6-0 ATS in its last six games in Week 12. The total has gone ‘over’ in five of the Saints last six games following a SU win.
Dallas is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games against the NFC and 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ in the Cowboys’ last seven games overall.
Head-to-head, the Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last six games against the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have not played well at home this season, going 1-4 SU and ATS, but the annual Thanksgiving Day game usually brings out the best in this team. Unfortunately they are catching a Saints team that is clearly on the rise. The problems in Dallas run deeper than a coaching change and that fact will be exposed in this game.
The Pick: New Orleans -4 and OVER
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David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.