New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Five Impact Players


Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cowboys 49-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints picked up their first victory of the young season last week against the Minnesota Vikings 20-9. The Saints (1-2) head to ‘Big D’ to take on the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) in a prime time Sunday Night Football showdown. Last year’s game featured a 49-17 thrashing of the Cowboys inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, something that the Cowboys won’t forget when they take the field on Sunday Night.

Impact players are those who have an influence or effect on the outcome of a game, both positively or negatively. For the Saints, I have selected five impact players who can rapidly dictate how the team fares.

Khiry Robinson

Khiry Robinson stays on my list from last week for obvious reasons. Dallas is giving up 110 yards/game on the ground currently, and New Orleans still has a Top 10 rushing attack through the first three games. Robinson wasn’t in the rushing mix the last time these two met when Dallas was torched for 242 yards on the ground. Look for the Saints to find some success running the ball with Robinson spearheading things, but they’ll have some change of pace with Pierre Thomas, who rushed for 87 yards on 17 carries last year (5.1 yard average). Robinson was fed the ball plenty last week, and managed 69 yards on 18 carries. Look for the Saints to attempt to ‘Free Khiry’.

Drew Brees

Drew Brees traditionally plays some of his best football against the Dallas Cowboys. Brees, who is 4-2 against the Cowboys in his career, has thrown for nearly 350 yards/game (346.8 actual), totaling 2,081 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a 106.7 QB Rating. Brees is also highly accurate, boasting a 66.53% completion percentage (167/257). Road games typically have Brees having that one pass intercepted that he’d like to have back. So, we want him to desperately avoid that against the Cowboys. Look for Brees to target and utilize Brandin Cooks much like Darren Sproles was last year, and ultimately the familiar faces: Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, and Kenny Stills.

Curtis Lofton

Curtis Lofton graded out at a +3.6 last week against the Vikings in run defense, which was the highest of his career in a single game according to Pro Football Focus. Cowboys running back, DeMarco Murray, has been red-hot in his first three games, and leads the NFL in rushing with 385 yards. Lofton will be a huge key to containing Murray this week, and while I don’t believe Murray will be shutdown by any means (see last year’s 16-89-TD performance), we can only hope to negate the big plays. Dallas will feature the run, and Lofton should hopefully see the plays unfolding to limit Murray.

Corey White

Say what you will about Patrick Robinson and Corey White, but White actually didn’t play bad last week. White will certainly be tested this week with Tony Romo and company. We should see Keenan Lewis match up against Dez Bryant mostly, which would mean White will be tasked with defending against Terrance Williams. Williams has been targeted 12 times this season, and has 8 catches, 102 yards, and 2 touchdowns to show for it. I liked the fact that the Saints got rookie cornerback Brian Dixon involved against the Vikings last week. Let’s hope this continues in a positive direction for Corey White.

Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham was M.I.A. in last year’s matchup for the most part, but that was more than okay. Graham was targeted five times and finished with 5 catches for 59 yards. Here’s where it gets encouraging for Graham, as we look at Dallas’ defense against Tight Ends this year:

@Rams, Jared Cook: 9 targets, 7 catches, 75 yards
@Titans, Delanie Walker: 14 targets, 10 catches, 142 yards, TD
vs. 49ers, Vernon Davis:  6 targets, 4 catches, 44 yards, 2TD

Do I really need to say more about the potential success Graham can have?

Who do you think is poised to be an impact player on Sunday? Sound off below!