The Dallas Cowboys are currently just a handful teams around the NFL who still remain undefeated through the first three weeks of the 2019 season. If they want to remain undefeated though after Week 4, they're going to have to head into the hostile New Orleans environment and defeat the Saints on their home turf.
New Orleans has the reputation of being one of the tougher environments to play in. This doesn't bode well for the Dallas Cowboys, no matter how talented their roster seems to be. Fortunately though the Saints starting QB, Drew Brees, will miss this matchup after undergoing thumb surgery, which could give the Cowboys the advantage they need to stay undefeated.
With Drew Brees out, the Cowboys can turn their attention to a few other players they must neutralize in order to give themselves the best chance at securing the “W”. Make no mistake, the New Orleans Saints have a talented roster, but there are a few players I believe Dallas has to try to contain more than others.
Continue to read below to see which ones identified…
RB, Alvin Kamara
Running Back Alvin Kamara is arguably the most versatile and dangerous playmakers in the entire league. Now that Mark Ingram has moved on to the Baltimore Ravens, Kamara becomes the lead dog in the Saints backfield and absolutely must be accounted for on any given play as both a runner and receiver. This might be the player the Dallas Cowboys defense must neutralize above anyone else.
Fortunately, the Cowboys put together a game plan in 2018 that helped contain Alvin Kamara. The task fell on CB Jourdan Lewis to “spy” on Kamara and he ended up doing an excellent job of neutralizing New Orleans biggest offensive threat. Lewis and the rest of the Cowboys defense was able to hold him to just 36 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards on the day and will need to do the same Sunday night if they want any chance of walking away with the victory.
DE, Cameron Jordan
When it comes to discussing some of the best pass rusher's in the NFL, Cameron Jordan's name somehow doesn't make it into the conversation very often. He is one of the more underrated defensive players in the league and someone the Dallas Cowboys absolutely have to neutralize Sunday night when they head to New Orleans for the Week 4 matchup against the Saints.
Cameron Jordan is a handful for any offensive tackle in the NFL, even ones as talented as the Dallas Cowboys bookends (Tyrone Smith and La'el Collins). He uses his strength and speed effectively in both the running or passing game, much like DeMarcus Lawrence does with the Cowboys. He has the ability to single-handedly change the course of the of the game. I expect him to battle it out with RT Collins Sunday and the winner of that matchup could have a huge impact on who the victor is Sunday.
WR, Michael Thomas
There is a reason the New Orleans Saints rewarded Michael Thomas with a five-year, $96.25 million contract extension during the offseason. He is regarded as one of the best wide receivers in the league. As such, the Dallas Cowboys must neutralize his impact on the game if they want any chance of leaving New Orleans with a victory.
In 2018 the Cowboys secondary did an excellent job containing Michael Thomas in the passing game. They held him to just five receptions for 40 yards and they must do the same in the Week 4 on Sunday night in prime time. With the Drew Brees out and Teddy Bridgewater at QB, Thomas' effectiveness might have lessened a little, but Dallas shouldn't take that for granted.
* Bonus* Wild Card Players
- Tight End Jared Cook is a player a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans would like to forget. With the score tied 31-31 in the 2016 NFC Divisional round, it was his sideline catch that set up the 51 yard game-winning field goal for Mason Crosby. Although he's no longer with the Green Bay Packers, he still a weapon with the Saints even though he's only caught five passes for 69 yards. He's definitely someone to keep an eye on.
- Quarterback Taysom Hill isn't typically used as a traditional QB with the Saints. He is more of a gadget player utilized in a variety of different ways and someone Head Coach Sean Payton likes to get involved. He is not someone who's going to single-handedly take over a game, but he is a player the Dallas Cowboys need to account for any time he's on the field.
- Cornerback Marshon Lattimore is hands-down the Saints best CB and someone capable of shutting down his side of the field. The Cowboys shouldn't necessarily avoid throwing the ball his way, but they might prefer to pick on Eli Apple instead. He's someone they should be pretty familiar with due to his time with the New York Giants and he has shown to be susceptible to giving up big plays.