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New Orleans Saints Provide Dallas Cowboys with Toughest Test to Date

Try as analysts might, there’s nothing they can do to minimize the Dallas Cowboys 3-0 record. A perfect start to the season may not have come against the cream of the crop in the NFL, but the way the Dallas Cowboys have claimed victory in the first three weeks of the season has been impressive. With three double-digit wins, the best point differential in the NFC (second in the NFL to the New England Patriots), and the ease in which the Cowboys have come to their 3-0 record, there’s nothing to do but applaud their efforts in beating handily the teams that were on their schedule. As we know, though the schedule the rest of the season will have some formidable challenges, and the first one is Sunday night on the road against the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints at 2-1 look to be the best team in the NFC South in the early going, with narrow wins over the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks. Losing Drew Brees on the road in week two against the Los Angeles Rams was a recipe for disaster, making it unsurprising that the Saints lost in a blowout.

Though the two teams have faced a different set of schedules in the first part of 2019, both have looked impressive to start their respective campaigns. For the Dallas Cowboys, they haven’t played a team with as potent an offense or as talented a defense as they’ll face when they take on the Saints this Sunday.

Statistically, the Saints don’t look very good in anything other than points scored, where they rank 11th in points. That after only scoring nine points in their week two loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Drew Brees only played nine snaps before being lost to a thumb injury that will keep him out for some time.

In week three, though they scored 30 points, the offense was helped by a punt return for a touchdown by electric returner Deonte Harris. The defense provided another defensive touchdown as Safety Von Bell recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Those were the first 13 points of the game for the New Orleans Saints before the offense found a groove. They’re a team that can score in several ways.

Making sure the Dallas Cowboys don’t give them any special teams or defensive touchdowns will be a huge factor in the outcome. The offense needs to play clean and not give the Saints’ defense or the home crowd any life.

Even though they won’t be facing All-Pro Quarterback Drew Brees this week, the Cowboys have yet to face a head coach and offensive coordinator like Sean Payton in the early part of the 2019 season. We’ve seen over the years just how unpredictably creative Payton can be in his play calling. If he’s able to find a rhythm against the Dallas Cowboys defense, the New Orleans Saints will be difficult to stop.

With Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Latavius Murray, Ted Ginn Jr., Jared Cook, and an underrated offensive line, the Saints offense will still be dangerous even with Bridgewater at quarterback. Kamara and Thomas are each one of the best at their respective positions and can each take over a football game. Kamara did just that a week ago against the Seattle Seahawks when he caught nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown and added 62 yards on 16 carries and a rushing touchdown.

The Cowboys had success against Kamara last year, but you know that Sean Payton will be looking for ways to get his most dynamic player the football in space. The Dallas Cowboys will have their work cut out for them trying to defend him.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints have several playmakers that could cause the Dallas Cowboys trouble on offense. Cameron Jordan is one of the better pass rushers in the NFL and will likely face La’el Collins for most of the day. Collins has had a great start to the year and was very effective when he faced Washington Redskins Pass Rusher Ryan Kerrigan. Jordan provides another test for Collins who looks to build on his tremendous start to the season.

On the other side of the defensive line, Marcus Davenport will take on All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith. Davenport was a highly regarded pass rusher out of UTSA, who the Saints traded two first-round picks to move up to select.

If the Dallas Cowboys offensive line can limit the damage inflicted by these two on the edge, it will help Dak Prescott and the passing game get off to a good start against the Saints in the Superdome. It’s always difficult to play in New Orleans and the Cowboys offensive line must start quickly if they want to neutralize the pass rusher and the noise factor provided by the crowd.

The Dallas Cowboys are playing excellent football right now, and they’ll need to continue doing so if they want to keep their perfect record alive. A 4-0 start to the season would put them in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and make them one of the favorites in the NFC. With how deep the conference is every win against an NFC opponent is huge in determining some of the end of season play of positioning.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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