By: Edward Egros

saints

Cowboys at Saints Preview

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SERIES FACTS (12)

The Cowboys are 3-0 for the 16th time in franchise history. 14/15 of those previous teams made the playoffs. The lone team that didn’t was the most recent: 2008.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 104/141 teams that started 3-0 made the playoffs.

The Saints are 2-1 for the 11th time in franchise history. 5/10 of those previous teams made the playoffs and three of them had quarterback Drew Brees playing for the full season.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last revised, 164/304 teams that started 2-1 made the playoffs.

Dallas is 6-8 in New Orleans with their last win coming on Dec. 19, 2009. Here are the results by venue:
Tulane Stadium: 3-1
Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 3-7

The Cowboys are 5-1 against the Saints in September with a 2-1 record on the road.


The Cowboys are 68-70-1 in their blue jerseys.

The Cowboys are wearing their blue jerseys for the second time in New Orleans since 2015. Prior to that, they had not worn their blue jerseys in New Orleans since 1971, ending a 45-season drought. The city with the longest blue jersey drought is Pittsburgh at 51.


The Cowboys are 2-2 in their blue jerseys against the Saints with a 0-1 record in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.


The Saints are the only NFC team the Cowboys have not played in the postseason. Comparatively, Dallas is among four NFC teams that New Orleans hasn’t faced in the playoffs. The other three are Tampa Bay, New York, and Washington.


From 1967-69, the Cowboys amassed five wins over the expansion Saints. This ties with the Falcons for the Cowboys’ second-best start against an expansion team. Franchise first place is over the Buccaneers with six straight wins.


The Saints are one of four teams to have once been division opponents with Dallas for more than a season. The other three teams are the Cardinals, Browns, and Steelers.



DAK PRESC
OTT FACTS (12)

Pres
cott is 7-3 on Sunday Night Football with a 2-2 record on the road.

Last year was the first time Prescott faced Dennis Allen’s defense. Prescott went 24-of-28 for 249 yards, a touchdowns, took seven sacks, and rushed five times for 22 yards in a 13-10 win over the Saints on Nov. 29, 2018.

Prescott is 18-8 against 4-3 defenses with an 88.8 passer rating and a 4.6 yards per carry. His average stat line is 19-of-30 for 217 yards, one touchdown, an interception, taking three sacks, and rushing four times for 18 yards.

Prescott’s 32 first-down passes rank 24th in the NFL.

Among quarterbacks with at least 30 passes, Prescott’s 8.7 yards per pass attempt on first down is tied with Matthew Stafford for the seventh-highest in the NFL.
Prescott has not been sacked on first down this season. Last year through the first three games, he took five sacks, tied with Eli Manning and Jimmy Garoppolo for the most in the NFL.

Prescott has the highest passer rating in the NFL on second down at 148.7. Second-highest is Kyle Allen at 132.5. Jacoby Brissett is third with 132.0.

Prescott’s second down conversions by pass are tied with Keenum for the most in the NFL with 22.

Prescott’s 10.2 yards per pass attempt on second down are the most in the NFL among starting quarterbacks.

Among quarterbacks with at least 10 pass attempts, Prescott’s 84.62 completion percentage in the red zone is the highest in the NFL.

Prescott’s five red zone passing touchdowns are tied with Case Keenum, Russell Wilson, and Matt Ryan for the second-most in the NFL. Jacoby Brissett has the most with seven.

Prescott is tied with Brissett, Ryan, and Keenum for the most passing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line with four.


TEDDY BRIDGEWATER FACTS (12)

Last week was one of Bridgewater’s five career games where he did not sustain a sack.

Bridgewater is 7-9 when he gets sacked three-plus times compared to 11-3 when he is sacked twice or fewer.

The last quarterback to start in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome not named Drew Brees was, in fact, Bridgewater on Dec. 30, 2018, in a 33-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Bridgewater’s 70.37 completion percentage in Seattle was tied for the ninth-highest of his career.

Bridgewater has an 85.7 completion percentage on play-action.

Bridgewater has the third-shortest “time to throw” last week, according to Next Gen Stats, with at 2.44 seconds.

According to Next Gen Stats, Bridgewater had the absolute lowest “intended air yards” at 3.3 yards.

Bridgewater, according to Next Gen Stats, had the lowest “air yards to sticks” in Week 3 at minus-6.7 yards. In other words, Bridgewater was throwing 6.7 yards behind the sticks on average.

According to Next Gen Stats, Bridgewater had the sixth-lowest “aggressiveness” with his passes in Week 3 at 7.4.

Bridgewater is the first quarterback not named Drew Brees to start in a prime tim
e game for New Orleans. On Dec. 12, 2005, Aaron Brooks started for the Saints on Monday Night Football in Atlanta in a 36-17 losing effort.

Bridgewater is 1/4 backup quarterbacks on active rosters this season who were once Pro Bowlers.

Bridgewater is the only Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year since 2011 to still not be with his original draft team.


JASON GARRETT FACTS (10)

Garrett is 3-0 for the first time in his career. He now joins Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips as the only Cowboys coaches to start 3-0.


Against head coaches who used to coach him or be his offensive coordinator, Garrett is 3-3:

2010 – NO (Sean Payton), 27-30 – L
2011 – BUF (Chan Gailey), 44-7 – W
2013 – NO (Sean Payton), 17-49 – L
2014 – NO (Sean Payton), 38-17 – W
2015 – @NO (Sean Payton), 20-26 – L-OT
2018 – NO (Sean Payton), 13-10 – W


Garrett is 20-10 in September with an 8-7 record on the road.

Garrett owns a 25-22 record in prime time, including playoffs, with a 10-12 record on the road.


Garrett is 15-14 on NBC Sunday Night Football, including NFL specials, with a 4-9 record on the road. Here is how Garrett’s overall SNF record, including playoffs and NFL specials, compares to other qualifying Cowboys coaches:
Bill Parcells: 2-3
Wade Phillips: 9-3
Jason Garrett: 15-14


Garrett’s 2-4 record is the worst record against the Saints since Bill Parcells. Here is how other Cowboys coaches have fared against New Orleans:

Tom Landry: 11-2
Barry Switzer: 1-0
Wade Phillips: 1-0
Jimmy Johnson: 2-1
Jason Garrett: 2-4
Chan Gailey: 0-2
Bill Parcells: 0-3


Garrett is 8-10 against the NFC South with a 3-6 record on the road.

Garrett’s 3-6 record against the NFC South on the road is his worst against other divisions in the conference sans the NFC East:
NFC West: 6-5
NFC North: 3-4
NFC South: 3-6


Garrett is 12-12 against Super Bowl-winning head coaches and on a three-game winning streak.

Jason Garrett was a member of the 1989 and 1990 Saints. Against teams Garrett once was on the roster for (Saints, Giants, Buccaneers, Dolphins), he holds a 21-11 record.


SEAN PAYTON FACTS (9)

Payton is now 1-3 with backup quarterbacks.

Sean Payton has the most wins against the Dallas Cowboys than any other head coach in Saints history:
Tom Fears: 0-5
J.D. Roberts: 1-0
John North: 0-1
Hank Stram: 0-1
Dick Nolan: 0-1
Bum Phillips: 0-3
Jim Mora: 2-3
Mike Ditka: 2-0
Jim Haslett: 2-0
Joe Vitt: 1-0
Sean Payton: 4-3


All of Sean Payton’s professional coaching experience came as an assistant in the NFC East. Here is his record against NFC East teams:
New York: 5-1
Philadelphia: 6-2
Dallas: 4-3
Washington: 3-3


Payton leads all New Orleans coaches with a 28-17 record in prime time, including playoffs. Here is how he fares with other Saints coaches:
J.D. Roberts: 0-1
John North: 0-2
Dick Nolan: 0-2
Bum Phillips: 1-2
Jim Mora, Sr.: 11-11
Rick Venturi: 0-1
Mike Ditka: 1-2
Jim Haslett: 4-7
Sean Payton: 28-17
Aaron Kromer: 1-0
Joe Vitt: 1-2

The Saints are eighth in the NFL scoring on 41.4% of their drives.

The Saints are tied for the eighth-fewest first downs in the NFL with 12.

The Saints and Lions are smack in the middle as a red zone offense with a 57.1% conversion rate apiece.

Payton is 49/112 on challenges for his career with a 2/2 overturn rate in 2019. He has not yet challenged pass interference.

Payton was the first among six assistant coaches on the 2005 Cowboys staff to be hired as a head coach. The other four were the late Tony Sparano (2008 Dolphins), Todd Haley (2009 Chiefs), Mike Zimmer (2014 Vikings), Todd Bowles (2015 Jets), and Anthony Lynn (2017 Chargers). Payton, Zimmer, and Lynn are still in their original posts, and are also the only ones to have won a playoff game.


EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (11)

Among running backs with at least 50 carries, Elliott has the third-highest yards per carry in the NFL at 5.3.

Elliott’s 289 rushing yards through the first three games are the 11th-most in Cowboys history.

Elliott’s 5.25 yards per carry through the first three games are actually lower than his 5.71 through the first three games of 2018, which were the best of his career.

Elliott is tied with San Francisco’s Matt Brieda and New England’s Rex Burkhead for the sixth-most yards before contact in the NFL at 3.0.

Elliott has the second-most first downs rushing in the NFL with 16. Only the Colts’ Marlon Mack has more with 22.

According to Next Gen Stats, Elliott sees an eight-man box 18.18% of the time, ranking 20th-most in the NFL.

According to Next Gen Stats via NFLSavant.com, on first down, Elliott has run the most behind center Travis Frederick the most this season with nine attempts. Second-most is right guard Zack Martin with eight.

According to Next Gen Stats via NFLSavant.com, 45 of Elliott’s 203 rushing yards gained on first down have come behind left tackle Tyron Smith.

According to Next Gen Stats via NFLSavant.com, 34 of Elliott’s 82 second-down rushing yards have been gained behind Frederick, the most behind any Cowboys offensive lineman.

Elliott has the most rushing yards on third down with 56 and the most first downs by rushing with six. Second-most third down rushing yards belongs to Dak Prescott.

Elliott has the second-most rushing yards (12) and second-most rushing yards (45) inside the red zone. However, his two rushing touchdowns inside the red zone are tied with 10 other players for the sixth-most in the NFL.


BROADCAST FACTS (11)

The Saints began playing in 1967 and have appeared in 96 prime time games. Since 1995, the Cowboys have appeared in 107.

Dallas and New Orleans have played nine prime time games in their series with the Cowboys holding a 5-4 advantage:
1973 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC – 40-3 Cowboys
1984 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC* – 30-27 Cowboys
1988 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 20-17 Saints
1994 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 24-16 Cowboys
2006 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 42-17 Saints
2009 – Co
wboys-Saints – NFLN – 24-17 Cowboys
2013 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 49-17 Saints
2014 – Sain
ts-Cowboys – NBC – 38-17 Cowboys
2015 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 26-20 Saints
2018 – Saints-Cowboys – FOX/NFL Network – 13-10 Cowboys
*Sunday night special, delayed 9:45 p.m. Central due to Reagan-Mondale presidential debate

Thursday’s game makes the 11th prime time game in the series. This series has seen 16 early games and 3 late games. Here’s the Cowboys’ records for each time slot:
Early games: 9-7
Late games: 2-1
Prime time: 6-4

The Cowboys are 53-36 when Michaels calls their games.

New Orleans is 20-14 when Al Michaels calls their games

The ledger favors the Saints at 4-2 when Al Michaels calls a game in this series.

The Cowboys are 27-21 when Collinsworth does color commentary for their games.

The Saints are 15-5 when Cris Collinsworth calls their games.

On KXAS, the NBC affiliate for Dallas-Fort Worth, th
e Cowboys are an all-time 52-35, including simulcast cable games from 1987-90.

Since their 1964 inception, the Cowboys are 10-14 in their road blue jerseys in prime time and on a two-game losing streak.

Dallas is 3-1 in their blue jerseys on Sunday Night Football.


CARL CHEFFERS FACTS (12)

This week’s referee is Carl Cheffers. The Cowboys are 5-4 when he referees their games. Here are the results:


2009 – Raiders, 24-7 – W
2010 – @Texans, 27-13 – W
2010 – DET, 35-19 – W
2013 – Rams, 31-7 – W
2015 – SEA, 12-13 – L
2016 – @NYG, 7-10 – L
2017 – NYG, 19-3 – W
2018 – @SEA, 13-24 – L
2018 – @CLT, 0-23 – L


Dallas has had fewer penalties than the opposition 5/9 times with Cheffers:
2009 – Raiders: 7/70; DAL: 6/48
2010 – @Texans: 5/32; DAL: 8/49
2010 – DET: 10/76; DAL: 6/39
2013 – Rams: 5/41; DAL: 6/52
2015 – SEA: 5/40; DAL: 5/40
2016 – NYG: 7/50; DAL: 5/54
2017 – NYG: 6/55; DAL: 5/50
2018 – SEA: 10/67; DAL: 7/55
2018 – CLT: 6/55; DAL: 9/74


Cheffers is tied for the third-lowest home team winning percentage this season:
John Hussey: 1.000
Brad Rogers: 1.000
Scott Novak: .833
Walt Anderson: .667
Ron Torbert: .667
Craig Wrolstad: .667
Clete Blakeman: .667
Adrian Hill: .500
Brad Allen: .500
Jerome Boger: .333
Shawn Hochuli: .333
Alex Kemp: .333
Shawn Smith: .333
Bill Vinovich: .333
Carl Cheffers: .333
Clay Martin: .000
Tony Corrente: .000


Cheffers is tied for the fifth-lowest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties this season:
John Hussey: 1.000
Scott Novak: 1.000
Ron Torbert: .667
Walt Anderson: .667
Clete Blakeman: .667
Jerome Boger: .667
Alex Kemp: .667
Shawn Hochuli: .667
Bill Vinovich: .667
Shawn Smith: .333
Clay Martin: .333
Tony Corrente: .333
Carl Cheffers: .333
Brad Allen: .000
Adrian Hill: .000
Brad Rogers: .000
Craig Wrolstad: .000


The Saints are 12-1 with Cheffers. Here are the results:
2009 – @WAS, 33-30 – W-OT
2011 – TB, 27-16 – W
2012 – SDG, 31-24 – W
2013 – TB, 42-17 – W
2014 – TB, 37-31 – W-OT
2014 – @CHI, 31-15 – W
2015 – TB, 19-26 – L
2015 – @CLT, 27-21 – W
2016 – @CRD, 48-41 – W
2017 – CHI, 20-12 – W
2018 – WAS, 43-19 – W
2018 – PHI, 48-7 – W
2018 – PHI, 20-14 – W


The Saints have had fewer penalties than the opposition 5/12 times with Cheffers:
2009 – WAS: 2/15; NO: 7/102
2011 – TB: 9/80; NO: 8/63
2012 – SDG: 7/56; NO: 10/99
2013 – TB: 8/78; NO: 9/94
2014 – TB: 15/113; NO: 6/50
2014 – CHI: 9/74; NO: 3/25
2015 – TB: 11/90; NO: 10/115
2015 – CLT: 7/42; NO: 12/100
2016 – CRD: 7/52; NO: 5/46
2017 – CHI: 4/31; NO: 7/51
2018 – WAS: 6/38; NO: 4/45
2018 – PHI: 6/49; NO: 8/69
2018 – PHI: 4/30; NO: 11/84


Cheffers’ games feature the fifth-highest sacks per game:
Vinovich: 7.7
Rogers: 7.5
Allen: 6.5
Novak: 6.3
Cheffers: 6.0
Corrente: 5.7
Martin: 5.7
Hochuli: 5.0
Smith: 5.0
Boger: 4.7
Hussey : 4.7
Wrolstad: 4.7
Anderson: 4.3
Blakeman: 4.0
Kemp: 4.0
Hill: 3.0
Torbert: 2.3



Cheffers is tied for the second-highest offensive holding calls per game in 2019:
Allen: 6.5
Cheffers: 5.7
Hochuli: 5.7
Corrente: 5.3
Hill: 5.0
Torbert : 5.0
Anderson: 4.7
Novak: 4.0
Rogers: 4.0
Hussey : 3.7
Kemp: 3.7
Boger: 3.3
Martin: 3.3
Wrolstad: 3.0
Blakeman: 2.7
Vinovich: 2.0
Smith: 1.3


Dallas has not challenged Cheffers’ calls. However, opponents are 2/2. Replay Assistant is 1/2 on its challenges with one of those benefiting the Cowboys.

New Orleans is 0/6 when challenging Cheffers’ calls. Opponents are 1/3, and Replay Assistant is 2/8 with five of those decisions benefiting the Saints.

Cheffers is tied for the seventh-highest challenge overturn rate in the NFL:
Anderson: 1.000 (1/1)
Vinovich: .500 (3/6)
Kemp: .500 (1/2)
Blakeman: .500 (1/2)
Novak: .500 (1/2)
Hussey : .400 (2/5)
Cheffers: .333 (1/3)
Corrente: .333 (1/3)
Rogers: .250 (1/4)
Wrolstad: .000 (0/1)
Allen: .000 (0/1)
Hochuli: .000 (0/1)
Smith: .000 (0/2)
Boger: .000 (0/2)
Martin: .000 (0/2)
Torbert : .000 (0/3)


Cheffers is the only referee this season to have a perfect overturn rate on pass interference challenges:
Cheffers: 1.000 (1/1)
Vinovich: .500 (2/4)
Allen: .000 (0/1)
Boger: .000 (0/1)
Hussey : .000 (0/1)
Kemp: .000 (0/1)
Novak: .000 (0/1)
Smith: .000 (0/1)
Corrente: .000 (0/2)
Martin: .000 (0/2)
Rogers : .000 (0/2)
Torbert : .000 (0/2)


MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (11)

The Saints have had three ex-Cowboys assistants as head coaches: Dick Nolan, Mike Ditka, and Sean Payton. Nolan is the only one who did not get a win against the Cowboys.

Cowboys pro scouting director Alex Loomis is the son of Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.

The late Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Saints in 1985. Along with Jerry Jones, they are two of six current owners who began their tenures in the 1980s. The other four owners are Virginia Halas McCaskey (1983), the late Alex Spanos (1984), the late Pat Bowlen (1984), and the late Dan Rooney (1988).


Not even a year into his NFL ownership, Jerry Jones led a group known as the Chicago 11 to block the installation of then-Saints GM Jim Finks as Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s replacement. Ultimately, Paul Tagliabue succeeded Rozelle thanks to Jones and the Chicago 11.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara has the third-highest yards after catch in the NFL at 177, which is second-highest among running backs. The Chargers’ Austin Ekeler has the most at 226.

Kamara is tied with Duke Johnson and Le’Veon Bell for the most broken tackles on receptions in the NFL with six.

Saints tight end Jared Cook and Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper are tied with Bears running back Tarik Cohen for the fourth-most drops with three apiece.

Saints receiver Michael Thomas is tied with Giants tight end Evan Engram and Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton for the fourth-most first downs in the NFL with 14.

The Cowboys are 6-2 on Sept. 29. Here are the results:

1963 – @WAS, 17-21 – L
1968 – @PHI, 45-13 – W
1974 – NYG, 6-14 – W
1985 – @OTI, 17-10 – W
1986 – @CR
D, 31-7 – W
1991 – NYG, 21-16 – W
2002 – RAM, 13-10 – W
2013 – @SDG, 21-30 – L


The Saints are 3-3 on Sept. 29. Here are the results:

1968 – CRD, 20-21 – L
1974 – ATL, 14-13 – W
1985 – @SF, 20-17 – W
1991 – @ATL, 27-6 – W
1996 – @RAV, 10-17 – L
2002 – @DET, 21-26 – L


The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Sept. 29:

1935 – QB Buddy Humphrey, 1961
1966 – LB Ken Norton, Jr., 1988-93
1974 – WR Dedric Ward, 2004
1987 – CB Bryan McCann, 2010