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Cowboys at Saints
Saturday Night Special
Unlike the game Thursday night between the Colts and Jags, this game Saturday with the Cowboys taking on the Saints actually is important to both teams. Sure, the Saints would need lots of bad luck for them not to end up with home field throughout the playoffs, but if you're the Saints, you don't want to leave that for others to decide. You want to take care of what you can control. So, we should have a game on our hands here.
Currently, top sportsbooks have the Saints favored by -7.5 with a total of 53.
Prior to last weeks games we broke down all of the contenders yards per points numbers over the last 6 weeks. We found the Saints with fantastic numbers on both sides of the ball while the Cowboys had very good numbers defensively, yet very poor numbers offensively. In fact this is true over the last 6 weeks, or season to date, whichever way you want to look at it.
The Cowboys are a perfect illustration of why we like this stat so much. If you take a look at the generic stats put out by the NFL as seen on most sports sites, you'll find the Cowboys among the top teams in the NFL for yards gained. A casual fan might look at that and conclude that the Cowboys are one of the better offensive teams in the NFL. Sure, they gain some yards, but the problem is, they can't make use of those yards. They can't put points on the board and they are terrible in the red zone.
That's the difference between the Saints and Cowboys right now. The Cowboys are #3 in total offense but can't make use of those yards. The Saints are #1 in total offense and they capitalize on it as they are also #1 in the offensive ypp rankings. The Cowboys defensive numbers are a little better than the Saints.
So what does it all mean? Everyone wants a pick on this "Saturday Night Special" but the side may not be the way to look. What it all means is that based on both teams body of work over the course of the season, or over the course of the last 6 weeks, suggests that the Cowboys are capable of playing with the Saints. It suggests that the Cowboys will likely be able to move the ball, and also suggests their defense will hang tough.
Unfortunately, if we use that past as an indicator, it also suggests that the Cowboys will stumble in the red zone, Romo will throw picks, and the team will, well, choke when the pressure is on. It's a unique situation. You have a team that's capable talent wise but simply not executing. If the Cowboys show up and play a perfect game Saturday Night, they could win straight up.
We are not going to pull the trigger with an official play here, but we'll lean towards Dallas +7.5 and Under 53.5.
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