Cowboys vs. Saints NFL Week 13 Thursday Night Football Picks

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

The Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints will look to bounce back into the win column after a less than stellar Thanksgiving day performance. The Cowboys are coming off a narrow loss to the Las Vegas Raiders while the New Orleans Saints are coming off a brutal loss to the Buffalo Bills. 

Although both teams are looking to get back on track, bookmakers fancy one side considerably more than the other; that is, the Dallas Cowboys. Lookahead NFL lines and odds projected the Cowboys as the 5-point road favorites before Week 12 and they reopened the market on the very same line. And since markets opened, the line has moved to Cowboys -6 with multiple top-rated sportsbooks

Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints

Thursday, December 02, 2021 – 08:20 PM EST at Caesars Superdome

Cowboys Lose Two in A Row

Following back-to-back losses, the Dallas Cowboys slip to a 7-4-0 record in the NFC East and down to fourth in the NFC standings overall. 

Thursday’s performance represented an upset in terms of the betting – the Cowboys closed as the touchdown favorites over the Raiders only to fail to deliver for ATS NFL picks in the 36-33 overtime defeat at the AT&T Stadium. It marked Dallas’ third loss in the last four games and third missed cover this season (the Cowboys are 8-3-0 ATS).

Dak Prescott was in top form, going 32 of 47 for 375 yards and two touchdowns. If there were a knockback on Prescott, it’s the fact that the offense got going late in the game. Dallas was on the back foot more often than not until Prescott rallied in the second half to tie the game in the final minutes and send it to overtime

Problems on the defensive side of the ball were also a factor. The Cowboys defense has taken a step back in the last few weeks, and those shortcomings proved to be detrimental in Thursday’s loss. The Cowboys committed 14 penalties for a franchise-record of 166 yards.

The defense failed to get after Derek Carr enough – the Raiders quarterback was able to toss for 373 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Meanwhile, the Raiders offense was allowed to put up 509 yards in total offense, while Marcus Mariota rushed for a touchdown and kicker Daniel Carlson put up 18 points.

Indeed, a defensive error proved to be the final nail in the coffin. Anthony Brown took a passer interference penalty on third-and-18, setting up the Raiders for a game-winning field goal in overtime. It was Brown’s fourth penalty on the day and the costliest one of all.

Saints Lose Four in a Row

The ceiling has come crashing down over the New Orleans Saints in recent weeks as they’ve lost four in a row to slip down to 5-6-0 overall and down to third in the NFC South. In fact, they’ve slipped behind the Atlanta Falcons (also 5-6-0) in the standings because the Falcons have the tiebreaker.

The Saints were dealt with a rash of injuries. It’s not a coincidence that things have gone south since Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8. However, things could be about to get much worse. The situation is looking dire for Sean Payton’s side right now. The Saints look clueless and uninspired, and if they lose a fifth straight game, it may well be curtains on the season entirely. This is the first time the Saints are sporting a four-game losing streak in the Payton era since 2015.

Thursday’s 31-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills is symbolic of the woes that have befallen New Orleans of late, and only by the narrowest of margins did the Saints avoid the ignominy of a shutout defeat in the fourth quarter. 

Trevor Siemian went 17 of 29 for 163 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Why Siemian wasn’t yanked out of the game as the offense huffed and puffed to no avail under his guidance is a mystery. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill was suited for the game, but he was allegedly dealing with a foot injury of some sort, according to the NBC broadcast analysts who broached the topic during the game. 

Separately, the Saints managed just 44 yards rushing and zero field goal attempts in the game. The special teams barely struck an audible chord, and the defense folded like a deck of cards.

Dallas Must Win to Stay Ahead in the NFC East

After a great 6-1 start on the season, Dallas’ form has taken a costly and somewhat inexplicable nosedive, and their lead over their neighbours in the division has narrowed too. While the Cowboys are still favored considerably by the NFL odds to win the NFC East, things might have been too close for comfort had the Philadelphia Eagles won their Week 12 contest on Sunday against the New York Giants – an Eagles win would have seen the gap narrow to just one game ahead of Week 13. But that didn’t happen. This gives the Cowboys some reprieve going into this Thursday contest, although that’s small consolation with five games left on the season. 

As things currently stand, the Cowboys have a two-game edge over the Eagles and the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning their first meeting. A win over the Saints would see that gap widen until Sunday when the Eagles take on the Jets. The outcome of the Eagles vs. Jets game will be pivotal. If the Eagles can bounce back into the win column, the pressure will be raised again. It’s worth noting the Cowboys and Eagles will bring down the curtain on their respective campaigns in Week 17.

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

New Orleans Must Win to Get Back on the Playoff Track

Ever since the Saints lost Jameis Winston in their signature victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36-27 in Week 8, the wheels have come off spectacularly. To add insult to injury, they were thoroughly embarrassed by the Bills at the Superdome in every facet of the game. And Payton’s coaching and decision-making are raising questions as the season continues to spiral out of control. 

On the bright side, the Saints could see several starters returning to the fold for this Thursday’s clash with the Cowboys. Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Ryan Ramczyk returned to practice this Sunday, which is a positive sign. However, as of the time of writing (Sunday), there’s no indication of a quarterback change. 

Whether Hill gets the start instead of Siemian is something many have speculated on, but it hasn’t been confirmed or denied by the Saints. This is something to pay close attention to before placing NFL picks either way for this game. At this point, anything must be better than Siemian, surely. 

NFL Picks and Predictions

At face value, the Cowboys look to be the better team in every respect right now. Assuming this game will feature Siemian, the Saints are a longshot bet to both cover in a loss or win outright. As such, the best bet has to be the Cowboys to bounce back in a big way at the Superdome. Color the world shocked if the Saints defy the NFL odds and pull off the outright upset.

NFL Picks: Cowboys -6 (-110) with DraftKings