By The Numbers: Cowboys take on Saints on Thursday Night Football
The first game of the NFL's Week 13 slate has playoff implications written all over it.
The Dallas Cowboys (7-4) are trying to shrug off a two-game losing streak and add to their NFC East lead, while the New Orleans Saints (5-6) are hoping to claw their way to the top of a pile of wild-card hopefuls.
Coming into their matchup on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, FOX), both teams are looking to redeem themselves after heartbreaking losses on Thanksgiving. The Saints fell victim to a 31-6 blowout loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, and the Cowboys suffered a 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Here are the numbers that define the contest:
DALLAS COWBOYS (7-4) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-6)8:20 p.m. ET on FOX
Matchup: This is the first matchup between the Cowboys and Saints since Week 4 of 2019. New Orleans defeated Dallas 12-10 in that game. Dallas is 0-3 in its past three games at New Orleans. Dallas has not won in New Orleans since 2009. The home team has won each of the past five games.
0-5: Dallas hasn't fared well on Thursday of late, losing its past five appearances, including going 0-2 so far this season.
419.8: The Cowboys lead the NFL in total offense (419.8 yards per game) and yards per play (6.2).
91.9: New Orleans' rushing defense is about as stout as they come. The squad is limiting opponents to 91.9 rushing yards per contest, good for third across the NFL. On Thursday, the Saints face a starting RB who has struggled mightily the past few weeks. Ezekiel Elliott has failed to muster 50 rushing yards in three straight games (32.7 rush YPG in those three). It's the first time that has happened in his career.
9: It's difficult to find a better defensive rookie than Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons, who has recorded nine sacks this season, the most ever by a Cowboys rookie (breaking DeMarcus Ware’s record of eight in 2005). The most sacks by any NFL rookie is 14.5 by Jevon Kearse in 1999. Parsons has recorded a sack in four straight games.
166: Dallas was penalized 14 times for 166 yards in its Week 12 loss. That's the most yards the Cowboys have ever lost to penalties.
1: With Mike McCarthy out due to COVID-19, this will be the first time defensive coordinator Dan Quinn serves as the Cowboys' head coach. The good news for Dallas: Quinn knows New Orleans well. He coached against the Saints 12 times during his tenure as Atlanta's head coach.
4: New Orleans is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The Saints have never lost five straight games in one season under Sean Payton. The Saints have also lost back-to-back home games and haven't lost three straight at home since 2015. To make matters worse, New Orleans' 25-point loss (31-6) in Week 12 was its largest since Week 10 of 2015 (47-14 to Washington). The Saints' six points were their fewest scored at home since 2005.
300: No Saints signal-caller has amassed 300 passing yards yet this season. Taysom Hill will start at QB Thursday after Trevor Siemian went 0-4 as the starter.
98.5: Saints DECameron Jordan is 1.5 sacks from becoming the fifth active player to reach 100 career sacks. Jordan would be just the second New Orleans player to reach the century mark, joining Rickey Jackson (Saints’ all-time sacks leader with 115).