Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) scrambles before throwing a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Cowboys, Saints Look to Snap Struggles

The New Orleans Saints (5-6) host the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) to kick off Week 13 on Thursday. Both teams have struggled as of late; the Saints have lost four straight for the first time since 2015, and the Cowboys have dropped three of their last four games.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, at 7-4, they still have a firm grip on the NFC East. It’s not as simple for the Saints; they’re sitting at third in the NFC South but are very much in contention for an NFC Wild Card spot.

Two major storylines grab the spotlight in this one. Taysom Hill is slated to get his first start at QB of the season for the Saints, and Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19.

A Change at QB

Since Jameis Winston suffered a torn ACL in Week 8 against the Buccaneers, Trevor Siemien has started at QB for the Saints. They’ve lost all four of those games, as well, to the Falcons, Titans, Eagles and Bills.

Hill has taken first-team reps at QB all week and will get his first start of the season. He suffered a partially torn plantar fascia that has limited him since week 10, as part of a flurry of injuries that has set the Saints back.

In addition to Jameis and Taysom being sidelined with injuries, Alvin Kamara has missed the last three games. Mark Ingram was also sidelined with a knee injury for the Saints’ Thanksgiving game against the Bills.

Sean Payton and the Saints hope Hill will bring a spark to a deflated offense.

Dan Quinn Takes Over at Coach

Cowboys Head Coach tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Thursday’s game. Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn will coach in his place against a team he’s no stranger to. As the head coach of the Falcons, Quinn faced the Saints 12 times and went 4-8 in those games.

Of course, the Saints had Drew Brees over those years. Regardless, of any staffer on the Cowboys or even in the NFL, Quinn is one of the most experienced, with a Super Bowl under his belt.

At this point, the Cowboys are looking for anything to change their fortunes after losses to the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders over their last four games. In their last time out, a 36-33 loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day, the teams committed a combined 28 penalties.

Granted, Dallas still has a comfortable lead in the NFC East over the next-best 5-6 Washington Football Team. But they’ll certainly want to get back in the win column against a beatable Saints team.

Game Time

The game will kick off from the Superdome at 8:20 on Fox and NFL Network.

About Parker Fluke

I'm a third-year student at the University of Florida passionate about storytelling and sportswriting. My goal is to work in communications for a professional sports team after I graduate.

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