Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/21/12
This week's game between the New Orleans Saints (6-8) and the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) could take many twists and turns with both teams playing some of their best football of the season.The Saints are coming off of a Week 15 41-0 dismantling of NFC South division rival Buccaneers, while the Cowboys pulled off a 27-24 dramatic overtime win against the Steelers.The past five games against the Saints have not gone well for the Cowboys with a 1-4 record dating back to December of 2003.The Cowboys' lone win came in December of 2009 by a score of 24-17 behind the running of Marion Barber. Wide receiver Miles Austin also stood out for the Cowboys scorching the Saints' secondary for 139 yards on seven catches and one touchdown.Since that win, Barber has all but left the NFL and Austin is fighting with star Dez Bryant and a crop of young talent led by Kevin Olgletree and Dwayne Harris.With DeMarco Murray as the feature back for the Cowboys, they stand a good chance for a repeat performance of that 2009 game from their backfield. The Saints have pretty much the worst defense in football; look for Murray to see between 20-25 touches and about 150 yards.Also look for quarterback Tony Romo to go to his fullback, Lawrence Vickers, on short-yardage situations against an over eager Saints pass rush. Vickers has caught some key passes from Romo to help the Cowboys' 3-0 December.It's key to get the running backs involved early for the Cowboys to expose the Saints' aggressive secondary for Bryant and Austin to get behind them. The Saints like to play physical on the corners and might not be a bad idea for Romo to get tight end Jason Witten involved early.Even though the Cowboys have more to play for, don't count the Saints out. Even if they are not playing for a trip to the playoffs they are still playing to impress head coach Sean Payton against the team that could be possibly courting the suspended coach in the offseason.Quarterback Drew Brees has always showed up against the Cowboys over the years. This year could be his best ever against a makeshift Cowboys defense. The Cowboys are young at one corner with rookie Morris Claiborne coming back from a concussion, and have virtually no middle to their defense with linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter on IR. Look for Brees to exploit the Cowboys' weaknesses often when he is on the field with his No. 2 passing offense in football.The outcome of this game will be decided by turnovers and special teams. Harris has shown explosiveness for the Cowboys' special teams that they have not had since the Deion Sanders days.After a shootout by these two offenses, it would only be fitting for Harris to end the game with a kick return for the winning touchdown. The Cowboys win this game 28-24.
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