Thursday Night Football features the Dallas Cowboys hosting the New Orleans Saints. Both teams last played on Thanksgiving – the Cowboys won a thrilling game over the Redskins to take over first place in the NFC East and the Saints knocked off the Falcons, for the second time in 2018.
End of the 2009 Winning Streak
Saints come in at 10-1. After losing to the Bucs in week 1, they haven’t lost since. The past month for the Saints has included wins vs Vikings, Rams, Bengals, Eagles, and Falcons. The 10 game win streak is the second longest in franchise history. The longest was back in 2009, when they won 13 in a row to start the season. That streak ended at the hands of the Cowboys.
Cowboys won that 2009 game 24-17. Saints came in 13-0, Cowboys were 8-5. The surprising loss happening in the Superdome too. Tony Romo was excellent for the Cowboys, avoiding turnovers, completing 22-34 passes for 312 yards and one touchdown. That touchdown pass went to Miles Austin, who caught 7 balls for 139 yards. The other two scores came via Marion Barber touchdown runs.
For Dallas to win tonight’s game they will need to defend the run and contain Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. In 2009, Saints had just 11 carries for 58 yards as a team, led by Reggie Bush’s one 29 yard carry.
The loss didn’t matter for the Saints, who went on to beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship game (Brett Favre) and would win their one and only Super Bowl to-date.
The Cowboys actually didn’t lose another regular season game after this, winning out to finish 11-5. More importantly, they finally won a playoff game by knocking off the Eagles in the Wild Card round. The win was the Cowboys first in the playoffs since 1996, snapping their incredible skid. They would lose to the Vikings in the NFC Divisional round next.
Saints Recent Advantage
Since that 2009 game, the Saints have beaten the Cowboys 4 times in the last 5 games
- 2010 – Saints won 30-27 – Jon Kitna started at QB for the Cowboys; Chris Ivory ran for 2 TDs for Saints
- 2012 – Saints won 34-31 in OT – Drew Brees went for 446 yards and 3 TD; Dez Bryant caught 9 passes for 224 yards and 2 of Romo’s 4 TDs
- 2013 – Saints won 49-17 – Mark Ingram ran 14 times for 145 yards and 1 TD; Demarco Murray ran for 89 yards and a TD
- 2014 – Cowboys won 38-17 – Murray ran for 149 and a TD and Romo threw for 262 and 3 TDs; Jimmy Graham has 8 catches for 86 yards and a TD
- 2015 – Saints won 26-20 in OT – Brice Butler caught a 67 yard TD (his only catch of the game) for Cowboys; CJ Spiller has 5 catches, 99 yards and a TD
All-time, the Cowboys hold a 16-12 edge over the Saints
Drew Brees’ Dominance
Since Drew Brees joined the Saints in 2006, he is 5-2 as the Saints starting QB vs the Cowboys. Let’s go inside the numbers:
- Completed 71% of his passes (thrown an average of 43 passes a game)
- Averaging 363 yards a game (high of 446, low of 298)
- 18 touchdown passes
- 3 interceptions
Dak Prescott will be the fourth different Dallas QB he has faced (Romo, Kitna, and Brandon Weeden)
Sean Payton Connection
Payton has been the Saints head coach since 2007. Prior to that he worked on the Cowboys coaching staff, under Bill Parcells. He was an assistant in Dallas from 2003-2005 and worked on an incredible staff that included current Vikings coach Mike Zimmer (as defensive coordinator), current Chargers coach Anthony Lynn (RB coach), former Browns OC Todd Haley (WR coach), current (for now) Jets head coach Todd Bowles (secondary coach), and recently ousted Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre (assistant secondary)
And of course, there’s one more connection – Dez Bryant. All Bryant wanted to do is play football in 2018. And after sitting out half the season, following his release by Dallas, the Saints signed Bryant a month ago. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious Achilles injury and outside of two days in practice will not suit up for the Saints this year. You know this game would have meant something to Bryant, who had spent his whole career in Dallas after being the 24th overall pick in the first round of the draft.
Bryant was the second WR off the board (behind Demaryius Thomas). Only FOUR of the 27 drafted WRs remain active in the NFL today – Thomas, Golden Tate (both of whom were traded at this year’s trade deadline), Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown (who was the 22nd WR off the board and the 195th overall pick).
The Saints are marching into Dallas, but when they leave will they be winners of 11 in a row? Or will the Cowboys end their long historic winning streak for the second time in 10 years?