Perhaps the best thing about Sunday night’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints is the fact that the game is not taking place in Arlington, Texas.
You heard me right: Better this game is in New Orleans than anywhere else.
But it’s a night game you say?
Okay, it’s true that the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a lousy place to visit if you’re an NFL team traveling to meet the Saints, day or night. It’s likely the loudest NFL venue, at least over the last several seasons, and New Orleans boasts a big-play offense that definitely stimulates the home crowd.
However, recent history suggests that America’s Team shouldn’t care too much about playing a road game in the “Crescent City”.
Let’s go back to 2009 right quick.
By Week 15 of that season, Dallas was coming off of two straight losses heading into what was thought to be a death sentence-type of trip to the Superdome to face a Saints team that was 14-0 and also on it’s way to Super Bowl XLIV later that year. Like this weekend’s matchup, that game would be played at night, giving the fan base plenty of time to get partied up for the game—this took place on a Saturday evening mind you.
With head coach Wade Phillips’ job likely on the line and a season teetering towards destruction, the Cowboys thumped the Saints with relative ease. The final score of 24-17 probably made this game look closer than it actually was, but the New Orleans offense was certainly capable of creating this kind of illusion.
The Saints offense can still do this and more, but the point here is that New Orleans is a beatable football team. After all, former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be dressed in black and gold come Sunday night and this is definitely a good thing.
Where the Cowboys are concerned, the Saints are more vulnerable at home than at AT&T Stadium. New Orleans is one of two NFC teams that remain undefeated at AT&T Stadium since it opened as Cowboys Stadium in 2009.
Dallas’ last two games against the Saints, in 2010 and 2012, have both taken place at home and both have been decided by a total of six points. In other words, despite those losses to one of the NFC’s top teams, it’s not like the Cowboys have been outclassed by head coach Sean Payton’s crew.
As far as the 2013 regular season is concerned, the Cowboys head into Week 10 with a record of 5-4. What’s telling is that each Dallas win has come against a team with a losing record thus far—this includes victories against each team in the NFC East. The four losses have come against teams with winning records.
One could assume that the Cowboys might actually beat a team that’s above the .500 mark at some point this season. If this is to be the case, a win in New Orleans would be a huge accomplishment for a team that’s trying to establish itself as something more than just a first-place team that resides in the worst division in the NFL.