Saints need a quality win at Dallas on Sunday


Ten months after the Saints demolished Dallas, the Cowboys have a better record. The Cowboys are ranked higher defensively and have allowed fewer points per game.
 
Is this just a three-game sample or is there something more to it?

Rewind back to November 2013. The Saints crushed the Cowboys, 49-17, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drew Brees completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns. In the first half, Brees completed 26 of 30 passes. It was pitch and catch for Brees and his receivers.

The Dallas defense was helpless. The Cowboys allowed 625 total yards and an NFL-record 40 first downs.

The headline in the Dallas Morning News blared, “Cajun Fried.”
 
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sounded off.
 
“It is embarrassing not to be representative, not to be competitive,” said Jones. “All of those things.”
 Indeed.
 
This season, the Cowboys appear to be a different team.
Tony Romo attempted only 23 passes in a 34-31 win over the Rams. The Cowboys didn’t panic, even though they were down, 21-0, early.
 
Running back DeMarco Murray has scored a touchdown and rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games. The Cowboys are no great shakes on defense, but at least they are somewhat better.
 
In the meantime, the Saints have been a real puzzle.
 
For the first quarter of a 20-9 win over the Vikings, they looked like the real Saints. In that first quarter, there were touchdown drives of 80 and 82 yards. We were waiting for a blowout to happen.
 
But, curiously, it was a 13-9 game into the fourth quarter when the Saints finally dispatched Minnesota. In the NFL, a win is a win is a win. But you weren’t alone if you left the building last Sunday looking for more.
 
One month into the season and the Saints are overdue for one of those dominating performances, the kind where it’s the middle of the second quarter and the other team looks bewildered; the kind where Brees has, by then, thrown passes to nine different receivers.
 
The kind where the Saints play like the Saints you’ve been accustomed to since 2009.
 
That’s why Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, will be much more that just one game in a 16-game NFL season. Have the Cowboys actually improved that much? Have the Saints taken a step back?
 
It’s like one of those weight-loss commercials. You’ve seen the before; now, we’ll see the after.
 
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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