The Cowboys face what should be their toughest test of the young season in the New Orleans Saints Sunday, but they are positioned well to come out on top.
1. Saints’ Lack of Turnovers
Dallas’ only glaring offensive issue this season has been turnovers, but New Orleans counters with its biggest issue.
The Saints have not intercepted any passes this year after recording only 12 last season — eighth worst in the NFL. While Tony Romo has made unusually poor reads this season, but he should return to form against a secondary not known for takeaways.
The Saints defense has been even worse at forcing fumbles with 1 this season and 15 last season — third worst in the NFL. After fumbling only twice in 217 carries last season, running back DeMarco Murray has already matched that number with only 75 carries. If he’s going to bounce back, this is the week to do it.
2. Tyron Smith, Jason Witten
As far as a defensive front is concerned, disruption is production. The Saints only have 4 sacks on the season, but defensive end Cameron Jordan (second in the NFL with 7 hurries) and outside linebacker Junior Gallette (third in the NFL with 5 hurries) have harassed quarterbacks all season.
Tyron Smith has turned into an elite offensive tackle and should be able to lock down Romo’s blind side. Tackle Doug Free, however, has struggled with speed rushers lately and will have a tough time with Gallette in particular.
Jason Witten has consistently been one of the better blocking tight ends in the game, and he’ll need to be on his game to help Free. Otherwise, Romo could spend most of the game on the run or the ground.
3. Tyrone Crawford, Henry Melton
Dallas shouldn’t have any trouble moving the ball against New Orleans, but what about the defense? The bad news is that New Orleans will move the ball on Dallas. The good news is that Dallas slightly resembles the type of team that has given Drew Brees trouble.
Led by Crawford and Melton, the Cowboys’ defensive line has taken a big step forward. Brees is tough to slow, but teams that can generate pass rush with only four and drop seven into coverage have been the most effective.
If the Cowboys’ secondary can hold their own in man coverage, which is their strength, the defense might be able to slow the Saints enough to improve to 3-1.
Against the Saints, the Cowboys' weaknesses should be masked and their strengths play well.While the Saints are probably the better team overall, the Cowboys are absolutely capable of winning comfortably.