The Dallas Cowboys are about to play under the lights of Sunday Night Football versus the New Orleans Saints. They'll do so in Mercedez-Benz Superdome against a Saints' team that will not count with their starting quarterback, Drew Brees. Even still, the Saints are coming off a win versus the Seattle Seahawks and they're expected to be the first real threat for the Cowboys in 2019. Despite facing a backup quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, don't expect this to be an easy game.
Without further ado, let's get to this week's edition of “Cowboys Wishlist.” Make sure to let me know what your wishes are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL! This season, if you tweet me your wishes beforehand, they'll be featured here.
Wish #1: Ezekiel Elliott Crosses 100-Yard Mark
You might read wish #1 and say “Well, that's easy. Zeke always has 100-yard games.” The thing is, the Saints have not allowed any running back to run that much since 2017. Their defense has played 29 straight games without allowing such a performance.
Elliott is off to the best start of his career and already has two 100-yard games through three weeks of the season. Drew Brees might be out for tonight's battle, but the Saints' defense is still pretty good. It'll be fun to see how this battle turns out.
Wish #2: Limit Alvin Kamara Once Again
Kamara is one of the best offensive players in the NFL. His ability to impact both the running and passing game make him a serious threat in any game against any opponent. This is one of the most intriguing match-ups on this game. When the Cowboys shocked the Saints last season, they did so by masterfully limiting Kamara's impact on offense. They managed to hold him to 36 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards.
But you know how football works. It's all a huge chess match. I can't wait to see how Sean Payton & Co. try to free Kamara against the Cowboys. And of course, how Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard plan to pull it off for the second consecutive year. Coming off a 161-yard, two-touchdown performance versus Seattle, Kamara is the biggest threat for the Cowboys' defense by far.
Wish #3: Byron Jones Beats Michael Thomas
Another quality offensive weapon for the Saints is Michael Thomas. He's been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL since he arrived. He just became the third player in league history to have over 300 catches and 4,000 yards after his first 50 games of his career.
Last season, CB Byron Jones beat Thomas in one hell of a battle. Thomas finished the night with only five catches and 40 yards (he led the Saints in receiving yards that game). It was one of those games when Jones truly proved his skills as a shutdown corner.
Things might not be very favorable this time around, but I had to include my wish of Jones proving once again why he deserves to get paid by the Cowboys.
Wish #4: Kellen Moore Keeps Foot on Gas
I've wondered for the first three weeks of the season whether or not Kellen Moore will be equally aggressive against tougher opponents. So far, they've let Dak Prescott sling the football all over the field and he's been successful. Will they go back to being a ground-and-pound offense now that they're facing a tougher defense?
I sincerely hope not. I don't believe that will be the case. Moore has proven his creativity and genius play-calling has the chance to be something special. They should stick to what's made them so good through the first three regular season games. If the trend continues, Moore will only surprise us even more.
Wish #5: Devin Smith Steps Up in Gallup's Absence
Devin Smith might be a real deal. His career was off to a slow start given plenty of injuries that kept him out of the gridiron. However, there's a reason why he was a second-round draft pick for the New York Jets and why he earned a spot on the Cowboys' 53-man roster at a position in which the team was loaded.
So far, we've seen flashes from Smith but with this being the first “real” game of the year, it'll be fun to see how Smith does taking Gallup's place for this stretch, specially against the tougher opponents such as New Orleans. Dak Prescott has praised Smith at practice. I wish CB Eli Apple lines up across of him to have fun watching Moore's offense for the fourth straight week.