2012 NFL Week 16 Preview: Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints

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New Orleans makes a relatively short trip to Dallas to take on the Cowboys today, and if anyone’s ever been to Texas, they know there’s really no such thing as a short trip. The Dallas Cowboys are hoping earn a postseason berth, and they need to win their final two games to do so.

This could be another long trip through Texas.

Drew Brees & Co. just hosted Tampa Bay last week, and they reigned throughout the game, rained 41 points onto the once-playoff-hopeful Bucs, and reined in an offense that had looked promising all season long. The Saints are playing a spoiler role, and Dallas has to look to a broken line-up to try and stop the Saints.

The Saints are putting up almost 400 yards per game in offense, but their defense is giving up 433. Dallas, meanwhile, is stifling the run to a 115 ypg average, and they’re allowing a field goal less per game in points. It is the unforeseen that has put Dallas in the position they now sit.

Dallas has lost a slew of key players. DeMarco Murray’s absence may be why the Cowboys rushing game is 31st in the league. Receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin’s recent injuries have given QB Tony Romo less to work with downfield. The offensive line is hurting to the tune of 32 sacks-allowed for a loss of 231 yards. No fewer than six offensive starters have been on IR regularly through the season. Recent off-the-field distractions have cost the life of one team member and, quite probably, the career of another. Yet somehow, someway, sometimes in the most ugliest of ways, the Cowboys continue to win.

Credit coach Jason Garrett. He has grown as a coach and kept his team grounded, headed in the right direction, wearing blinders and ignoring all the extraneous noises surrounding the team.

The only noise we’ll hear today in Dallas is a rabid crowd, itching for a game in Washington next week to face the Redskins for what could be the winner of the NFC East. And Dallas should be able to give the people what they want today.