By: Mark Lane

orleans

Saints at Cowboys

SERIES FACTS (11)

This is the sixth time the Cowboys have started 6-5. 2/5 of those previous teams made the playoffs with none of them having won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, teams that started 6-5 made the playoffs 55/121 times with 21/55 of those clubs having won the division.

This is the first time the Saints have started 10-1. Only their 11-0 start of 2009 was better.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, there have been 24 teams that started 10-1 and all of them made the postseason. Here is the ultimate fate for those squads:

Divisional loss: 8/24
Conference Championship berth: 9/24
Super Bowl appearance: 2/24
Super Bowl win: 5/24

The Cowboys are 10-4 against the Saints at home. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Cotton Bowl: 2-0
Texas Stadium: 7-2
AT&T Stadium: 1-2

The Cowboys are 4-2 against the Saints in November with a 2-1 record at home.

The Cowboys are 4-1 on Thursday night with a 2-1 record at home.

The Saints are 6-6 on Thursday night with a 2-6 record on the road.

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

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 PRESCOTT FACTS (11)

Prescott has the 11th-lowest yards per pass attempt in the NFL at 7.2.

Prescott’s 90-yard touchdown pass to receiver Amari Cooper on Thanksgiving is the second-longest pass thrown in the NFL this season.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Prescott’s five interceptions are tied for the third-lowest in the NFL.

Prescott’s 2,427 passing yards are the lowest among Week 1 starters this season.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Prescott’s 93.2 passer rating is the fourth-lowest in the league.

Prescott is tied with Eli Manning for the most sacks in the NFL with 38.

Prescott’s 11.1 yards per completion is tied with Josh Rosen for the 10th-lowest in the NFL.

Prescott’s five red zone rushing touchdowns are the most for quarterbacks this season.

Prescott has 67 rushing yards inside the red zone, which are the third-most among quarterbacks.

According to Next Gen Stats, Prescott has the third-longest time to throw at 2.96 seconds.

According to Next Gen Stats, Prescott is tied with Andrew Luck for the seventh-shortest distance on throws to the sticks at -1.4 yards.


DREW BREES FACTS (20)

Brees’ 76.4 completion percentage is the best of his career through the first 11 games.

Brees’ 76.4 completion percentage is the best in the NFL.

According to Next Gen Stats, Brees has the second-shortest time to throw in the NFL at 2.57 seconds.

Brees’ 3,135 passing yards are the seventh-most in the NFL.

Brees’ 3,135 passing yards are the 10th-most in his career through the first 11 games of a season.

According to Next Gen Stats, Brees’ 6.2 “completed air yards” are tied for the ninth-best in the league.

Brees’ 29 touchdown passes are the third-most in the NFL.

Brees’ 29 touchdown passes are the third-most in his career through the first 11 games. Only 2012 (31) and 2016 (30) were better.

Only Aaron Rodgers has thrown fewer interceptions among quarterbacks who started since Week 1. Brees is second with two picks.

Brees’ two interceptions are the fewest of his career through the first 11 games.

Brees’ 127.3 passer rating is the best in the NFL, 9.4 points higher than the nearest second place quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.

With a minimum of 100 pass attempts, Brees’ 127.3 passer rating is the second-best in the NFL through the first 11 games since 1950. Only Tom Brady’s 134.0 from 2007 is better.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Brees’ 10 sacks are the fewest in the NFL.

Brees’ 10 sacks are the third-fewest of his career through the first 11 games.

Brees’ 8.8 yards per pass attempt is the fifth-most in the NFL.

According to Next Gen Stats, Brees’ 7.4 “intended air yards” are tied with Patrick Mahomes for the ninth-fewest in the NFL.

Brees’ 8.8 yards per pass attempt is the second-most of his career. Only 2009’s 9.1 was higher.

According to Next Gen Stats, Brees throws 1.1 yards behind the line to gain on average.

Brees played Texas high school football at Austin Westlake. He is 4-3 in the state of Texas.

Brees has a 21-12 record against the NFC East with a 9-5 record on the road.


JASON GARRETT FACTS (13)

Against head coaches who used to coach him or be his offensive coordinator, Garrett is 2-3:

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


Garrett is 23-14 in November with a 12-10 record at home.

Garrett is 7-5 on Thursdays with a 3-0 record in prime time.

Here is how Garrett’s 7-5 record on Thursdays compares to the rest of the Cowboys’ coaches
Tom Landry: 14-7-1
Wade Phillips: 4-0
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Jason Garrett: 7-5
Bill Parcells: 2-2
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Dave Campo: 1-2


Garrett’s 1-4 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: 1-4
Chan Gailey: 0-2
Bill Parcells: 0-3


Garrett is 5-11 against the NFC South with a 3-4 record at home.

Garrett’s 3-4 record against the NFC South at home is his second-best against other divisions in the conference sans the NFC East:
NFC North: 6-4
NFC South: 3-4
NFC West: 3-5

Garrett is 9-12 against Super Bowl-winning head coaches.

The Cowboys have been flagged 60 times this season, the fifth-fewest penalties in the NFL.

The Cowboys’ 60 penalties through the first 11 games are tied with the 1967 team for the 11th-most in franchise history with 60.

The Cowboys have the 10th-lowest red zone conversion rate in the NFL at 53.1 percent.

Garrett is 20/40 on challenges for his career with a 1/4 record in 2018.

Jason Garrett was a member of the 1989 and 1990 New Orleans Saints. Against teams Garrett once was on the roster for (Saints, Giants, Buccaneers, Dolphins), he holds a 16-11 record.


SEAN PAYTON FACTS (8)

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: 4-2


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: 5-2
Dallas: 4-2
Washington: 3-3

Payton is 6-5 on Thursdays with a 3-4 record on the road.

Payton is 31-16 in November with a 14-9 record on the road.

The Saints are tied with the Panthers for the third-fewest penalties in the NFL with 59.

New Orleans’ 59 penalties through the first 11 games are tied with the 2006 team for the 13th-fewest in the NFL.

The Saints have the third-best red zone conversion rate in the NFL at 73.1 percent.

Payton has a 45/107 overturn rate on challenges with a 1/2 record in 2018.


BROADCAST FACTS (10)

The Saints began playing in 1967 and have appeared in 93 prime time games. Since 1995, the Cowboys have appeared in 106.

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-Co
wboys – NBC – 42-17 Saints
2009 – Cowboys-Saints – NFLN – 24-17 Cowboys
2013 – Cowboys-Sai
nts – NBC – 49-17 Saints
2014 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 38-17 Cowboys
2015 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 26-20 Saints
*Sunday night special, delayed 9:45 p.m. Central due to Reagan-Mondale presidential debate

Thursday’s game makes the 10th 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: 5-4

Dallas is 130-121 all-time on FOX, including postseason.

Thursday will mark the Cowboys’ 12th appearance on NFL Network, the most by any team in the network’s history.

The Cowboys have never lost a Thursday night game broadcast on NFL Network (4-0), though they have lost three Saturday night games (4-3).

The Cowboys are 35-41 when Joe Buck does play-by-play for their games.

Dallas is 41-47 when Troy Aikman does color commentary for their games.

A total of five former Cowboys have called TV games in the series: Eddie LeBaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Daryl Johnston. Only former head coach Hank Stram has been the only ex-Saint to call games in the series on TV.

The Saints are the only NFC team the Cowboys have never beaten on FOX (0-9).



WALT ANDERSON FACTS (11)

This week’s referee is Walt Anderson, a native of Sugar Land, Texas. Anderson has refereed 17 Cowboys games in his career. Dallas is 8-9. Here are the results:

2005 – @NYG, 10-17 – L
2006 – TB, 38-10 – W
2006* – @SEA, 20-21 – L
2007 – Rams, 35-7 – W
2007 – WAS, 28-23 – W
2008 – WAS, 24-26 – L
2008 – NYG, 20-8 – W
2009 – @DE
N, 10-17 – L
2009* – @MIN, 3-34 – L
2011 – @NYG, 31-14 – L
2012 – CHI, 34-18 – L
2012 – @WAS, 18-28 – L
2013 – WAS, 31-16 – W
2013 – @NYG, 24-21 – W
2015 – @WAS, 19-16 – W
2017 – @WAS, 33-19 – W
2017 – @NYG, 30-10 – W
2018 – @CAR, 8-16 – L

*Playoff game


The Cowboys have won the penalty battle 8/17 times with Walt Anderson:

2005 – NYG: 6/44; DAL: 7/46
2006 – TB: 5/55; DAL: 2/19
2006* – SEA: 3/15; DAL: 8/74
2007 – Rams: 7/50; DAL: 2/10
2007 – WAS: 3/71; DAL: 7/58
2008 – WAS: 5/30; DAL: 3/15
2008 – NYG: 7/40; DAL: 11/108
2009 – DEN: 7/70; DAL: 10/81
2009* – MIN: 8/50; D
AL: 2/10
201
1 – NYG: 3/28; DAL: 7/43
2012 – CHI: 4/25; DAL: 2/10
2012 – WAS: 2/20; DAL: 1/6
2013 – WAS: 12/104; DAL: 7/80
2013 – NYG: 11/81; DAL: 11/85
2015 – WAS: 9/73; DAL: 8/70
2017 – WAS: 5/32; DAL: 8/89
2017 – NYG: 7/69; DAL: 8/51
2018 – CAR: 9/80; DAL: 10/85

*Playoff game



Anderson is tied for the third-lowest home team winning percentage in the NFL:

John Hussey: .818
Carl Cheffers: .800
Tony Corrente: .773
Clay Martin: .727
Shawn Hochuli: .700
Alex Kemp: .700
Bill Vinovich: .700
Walt Coleman: .636
Brad Allen: .600
John Parry: .600
Jerome Boger: .546
Craig Wrolstad: .546
Pete Morelli: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
WALT ANDERSON: .500
Clete Blakeman: .300
Shawn Smith: .250


Anderson is tied for the seventh-highest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:

Craig Wrolstad: 1.000
Pete Morelli: .700
Shawn Hochuli: .600
Bill Vinovich: .600
Tony Corrente: .546
John Hussey: .546
WALT ANDERSON: .500
Alex Kemp: .500
Brad Allen: .500
Clete Blakeman: .500
Jerome Boger: .455
Walt Coleman: .455
Ron Torbert: .400
Shawn Smith: .400
Clay Martin: .364
John Parry: .300
Carl Cheffers: .200



The Saints are 6-10 when Anderson referees their games:

2003 – @PHI, 20-33 – L
2004 – @ATL, 21-24 – L
2007 – @CLT, 10-41 – L
2007 – ATL, 22-16 – W
2009 – @BUF, 27-7 – W
2010 – ATL, 24-27 – L-OT
2010 – @RAV, 24-30 – L
2011 – @RAM, 21-31 – L
2011 – @MIN, 20-42 – L
2013 – CAR, 31-13 – W
2014 – MIN, 20-9 – W
2015 – @CRD, 19-31 – L
2016 – CAR, 41-38 – W
2016 – @TB, 11-16 – L
2017 – @TB, 24-31 – L
2018 – @ATL, 43-37 – W-OT



The Saints have had fewer penalties 10/16 times under Anderson:

2003 – PHI: 14/171; NO: 12/101
2004 – ATL: 6/46; NO: 5/25
2007 – CLT: 6/30; NO: 4/20
2007 – ATL: 9/52; NO: 6/49
2009 – BUF: 12/116; NO: 9/97
2010 – ATL: 6/40; NO: 4/38
2010 – RAV: 10/68; NO: 6/68
2011 – RAM: 9/64; NO: 5/32
2011 – MIN: 8/84; NO: 6/65
2013 – CAR: 5/35; NO: 5/45
2014 – MIN: 5/44; NO: 4/30
2015 – CRD: 5/30; NO: 7/73
2016 – CAR: 5/51; NO: 10/126
2016 – TB: 7/65; NO: 13/104
2017 – TB: 2/15; NO: 7/38
2018 – ATL: 5/54; NO: 11/120


Anderson games have featured the second-most sacks on average:
Cheffers: 6.8
ANDERSON: 5.6
Kemp: 5.6
Martin: 5.6
Hussey: 5.5
Allen: 5.4
Hochuli: 5.3
Smith: 5.3
Coleman: 5.2
Wrolstad: 5.1
Corrente: 5.0
Morelli: 4.8
Torbert: 4.8
Vinovich: 4.5
Blakeman: 4.3
Parry: 3.7
Boger: 3.6


Anderson’s games are tied for the third-most offensive holding calls in the NFL:
Hochuli: 4.2
Wrolstad: 3.3
ANDERSON: 2.9
Torbert: 2.9
Cheffers: 2.8
Kemp: 2.6
Smith: 2.4
Blakeman: 2.3
Martin: 2.1
Parry: 2.1
Boger: 2.0
Morelli: 2.0
Allen: 1.9
Corrente: 1.6
Coleman: 1.4
Hussey: 1.6
Vinovich: 0.8




The Cowboys are 4/4 on challenges under Anderson while opponents are 1/4. Replay Assistant is 3/5 with none of those decisions having favored the Cowboys.



New Orleans has challenged Anderson and won 5/7 times. Opponents are 1/3 while Replay Assistant is 2/3 with one of those calls benefiting the Saints.


Anderson is tied for the second-highest coaches’ challenge overturn rate in the NFL, and he is tied with John Hussey and Tony Corrente for the most coaches challenges reviewed in 2018:
Allen: 1.000 (3/3)
ANDERSON: .625 (5/8)
Hussey: .625 (5/8)
Cheffers: .600 (3/5)
Parry: .571 (4/7)
Torbert .500 (3/6)
Blakeman: .500 (2/4)
Morelli: .500 (1/2)
Hochuli: .500 (1/2)
Coleman: .400 (2/5)
Corrente: .375 (3/8)
Vinovich: .250 (1/4)
Smith: .250 (1/4)
Wrolstad: .167 (1/6)
Martin: .167 (1/6)
Boger: .143 (1/7)
Kemp: .000 (0/5)


MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (16)

Ezekiel Elliott has taken eight hand-offs inside the 5-yard line, tied with LaGarrette Blount and Jordan Howard for the 10th-most in the NFL.

Elliott has gained 92 yards inside the 20-yard line, the fifth-most in the NFL.

Elliott’s five rushing touchdowns inside the 20-yard line are tied for the eighth-most in the league.

According to Next Gen Stats, Elliott sees eight defenders in the box 26.7 percent of the time.

According to Next Gen Stats, Elliott spends 2.89 seconds behind the line of scrimmage.

Alvin Kamara has tallied 1,225 scrimmage yards, the eighth-most in the NFL.

Kamara gains 5.9 yards per touch, tied with Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon for the 10th-most in the NFL.

The last time quarterbacks not named Drew Brees or Tony Romo started in this series was Dec. 12, 2004 when Aaron Brooks led the Saints into Texas Stadium to face Vinny Testaverde and the Cowboys. New Orleans won 27-13.

Brees played Texas high school football for Austin Westlake. The Cowboys are 9-8 against former Texas high school quarterbacks in AT&T Stadium.

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), Alex Spanos (1984), Pat Bowlen (1984), and 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.


The Cowboys are 1-1 on Nov. 29. Here are the results:
1964 – GB, 21-45 – L
2007 – GB, 37-27 – W


The Saints are 2-6 on Nov. 29. Here are the results:

1970 – @CIN, 6-26 – L
1981 – TB, 14-31 – L
1987 – @PIT, 20-16 – W
1992 – MIA, 24-13 – W
1998 – @MIA, 10-30 – L
2012 – @ATL, 13-23 – L
2015 – @HTX, 6-24 – L


The Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on Nov. 29:

1967 – Joe Fishback, S, 1993-94
1970 – Joey Mickey, TE, 1993
1976 – Chris Akins, DB, 1999-2000