Thursday Night Football 12.2.21

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints

Odds:  Dallas -4.5, over/under 47.5

Weather: Dome conditions

For the second week in a row the 7-4 Dallas Cowboys and 5-6 New Orleans Saints will play on Thursday.  Dallas is coming off a 36-33 overtime loss at home to the Las Vegas Raiders, while New Orleans was beaten 31-6 by the Buffalo Bills.

Dallas will be without head coach Mike McCarthy after McCarthy tested positive for COVID-19, but they will get back wide receiver Amari Cooper, who has missed the last two games due to COVID-19. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb will also be back after sitting out last game with a concussion.

With quarterback Dak Prescott’s favorite weapons back in the fold, Dallas will look to stop a two game losing streak. Prescott is averaging 302.6 passing yards per game with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Lamb has been Prescott’s favorite target, hauling in 50 of 77 targets for 740 yards and six touchdowns. Cooper is second on the team in receiving yards with 583 in 44 receptions and five touchdowns. Tight end Dalton Schultz has emerged as another weapon for Prescott, catching 47 passes for 537 yards and four touchdowns. Cedrick Wilson has filled in well, while Michael Gallup was injured. Wilson has 30 receptions for 420 yards and three touchdowns, but he will miss this game due to an ankle injury. Gallup has 13 receptions for 192 yards in three games since returning from injured reserve.

Ezekiel Elliott is no longer the workhorse of the Dallas backfield as Tony Pollard is having a breakout season. Elliott leads the team in rushing with 720 yards on 160 carries and eight touchdowns, while Pollard has added 531 yards on 100 carries with three touchdowns. Both contribute in the passing game as well with Pollard slightly out-gaining Elliott, 256 to 228. Elliott has 38 receptions to Pollard’s 29.

Dallas is getting good news on the defensive side of the ball as DeMarcus Lawrence is expected to return from a foot injury.

After losing four straight, New Orleans is expected to go with Taysom Hill as their starting quarterback this week. Hill has missed 4 games this season with multiple injuries and is just 7 for 8 passing for 56 yards. He’s rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns.

Alvin Kamara, the centerpiece of the New Orleans offense, is set to return this week after missing the last few games. Kamara has rushed for 530 yards and added another 310 through the air with seven total touchdowns. Mark Ingram has filled in admirably with 205 yards rushing and 132 receiving in Kamara’s absence.

New Orleans’ passing attack consists of Deonte Harris with 27 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns, Marquez Callaway with 27 receptions for 396 yards and six touchdowns and Tre’Quan Smith with 20 receptions for 236 yards and two touchdowns, although Smith missed five games. Tight end Adam Trautman has 25 receptions for 241 yards and one touchdown.

Injury report:


Dallas: WR Cedrick Wilson (ankle)

New Orleans: DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle), LB Kaden Ellis (undisclosed)


Dallas: WR Amari Cooper (illness), WR Malik Turner (undisclosed)

New Orleans: RB Alvin Kamara (knee)