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On Deck: Saints

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On Deck: Saints

AP

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) dives forward for a touchdown as Jets free safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (37) attempts to stop him during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday.

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2013 season.

The Opponent: The Saints have had a bit of an up-and-down year, as evidenced by their shocking loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, but they're still a really potent offensive team that can rack up a lot of points in a hurry. Also, they're a different team at home, and the Cowboys have to travel to New Orleans for a Sunday night game. It's going to be electric.

Past Meeting: Last season, in Week 16, the Cowboys fell to the Saints, 34-31 in overtime. Tony Romo had one of the best games of his career, going toe-to-toe with Drew Brees, as he threw for 416 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Dez Bryant finished the game with 224 receiving yards.

Key Matchup: NO DC Rob Ryan vs. DAL offense: Not your conventional "key matchup," but it can't go without mentioning in this case. Ryan was fired last season as Dallas' defensive coordinator after working the season with a bare cupboard. This year, he has the Saints playing his aggressive brand of defense, and they're doing it pretty well. You know he'll want to get the best of his former employer and he might even know a few secret things to attack in Dallas' offense.

Who's Hot: Jason Witten is coming off one of his better games of the year after catching eight passes for 102 yards and a score in Sunday's win over Minnesota. Tony Romo would have had a near-perfect game if not for an awful interception late in the game that looked, at the time, to be costly. Nick Hayden scored his first career touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone while tallying six tackles.

Continuing the trend of tight ends, the Saints have one of the best in the game and Jimmy Graham proved it on Sunday. He had nine catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

Who's Not: DeMarco Murray didn't have the game he envisioned in his return to the lineup, and voiced his opinion after the game against the Vikings when he said there were opportunities to run the ball, yet he only had four carries and the team ran just nine times. Rookie wideout Terrance Williams saw his streak of four straight games with a TD come to an end as he had just two grabs for 33 yards.

Drew Brees threw two costly picks despite passing for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns.

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