No match-up this week in the NFL has brought more discussion than Saturday’s Cowboys – Saints match-up, set to take place in a packed New Orleans Superdome.
Dallas currently is vying for a wild card berth at 8-5 but in usual fashion are experiecing their December woes compiling an 0-2 record so far this month and are in desperate need of a win.
Meanwhile the Saints have continued to find ways to win remaining one of two perfect teams left in the NFL with a 13-0 record and are currently playing for the chance at home field advantage through the play-offs after securing a first-round bye and clinching the NFC South division.
The Saints will need to be prepared for a potentially dangerous Dallas squad, here are some keys to the game.
- In recent weeks the Saints secondary, without Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer, has been exposed for big plays. The Saints must find a way to limit Dallas’ top two receiving threats, tight end Jason Witten (77-793-1) and receiver Miles Austin (58-999-10). To combat these two weapons the Saints need to approach them defensively much like they did the Patriots Randy Moss and Wes Welker, man to man coverage with a safety “shadowing” over the top effectively double teaming the players. This method shut down Randy Moss and Wes Welker completely.
- The aforementioned problems in the secondary have lead to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams dialing up less blitzes so he can drop more defenders into coverage, thus diminishing the chances of an effective pass rush. William’s needs to light the fires and kick the tires so to speak and blitz, blitz, blitz. Tony Romo cannot be allowed to sit in the pocket and throw down field, he must be pressured early and often which will hopefully result in sacks and errant throws.
- Blitzing is also an effective means to neutralize a run game and Dallas has three capable running backs in Marion Barber (716-4), Felix Jones (478-2) and Tashard Choice (344-3) to contend with. Luckily the Saints are pretty solid against the run but have been suspect without starting defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis in the lineup, Ellis is currently listed as questionable on the official injury report with an achy right knee but is expected to start.
- Start fast and finish strong, if the Sains abide by this matra they will be victorious. The Saints lead the league in scoring and yards per game and in their first five games this season never trailed at any point, but in their last eight games were either tied or trailing at the end of the first quarter. They need to score first and often followed by a strong doses of Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Mike Bell.
- Speaking of Reggie Bush in the last meeting between the Saints and Cowboys, a 42-17 win for the Saints, Bush combined for 162 yards from scrimmage and one receiving touchdown. Bush’s speed has been very problematic for the Dallas 3-4 defense so it’s safe to assume giving Reggie Bush a king’s share of the touches should produce massive results.
NEW ORLEANS: OUT — CB Jabari Greer (groin). QUESTIONABLE — DT Sedrick Ellis (knee), LB Scott Fujita (knee), CB Tracy Porter (knee), TE Jeremy Shockey (toe). Ellis did not practice all week. PROBABLE — WR Lance Moore (knee/hamstring), RB Mike Bell (knee). DALLAS: QUESTIONABLE – WLB DeMarcus Ware (neck/wrist), S Ken Hamlin (ankle). PROBABLE – FB Deon Anderson (knee).
What do you who dat’s think out there? Have any predictions or your own keys for the Saints victory? Sound off and let us know what you think and just because it’s the holidays the first person who makes a prediction that comes true will get a free Saints key-chain, just remember to post your email address.
Follow the New Orleans Saints through whodatdish.com at twitter.com/whodatdish.
Subscribe to who dat dish via RSS feed to get all your Saints news here