USA Today Sports. Pictured: Cameron Jordan, Ezekiel Elliott
- Anthony Amico breaks down how the Saints will make it 11 straight wins when they visit the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.
- The key? Even though Ezekiel Elliott has been on a tear, the Dallas O-line is hobbled and New Orleans has stopped the run all season.
I’ll be leveraging my experience as a high school football coach and fantasy analyst with a statistics background to identify aspects of one matchup every week that you can take advantage of while setting your fantasy football lineups and/or placing bets on the upcoming slate.
This week we’re focusing on the Thursday Night Football matchup featuring the New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys.
Saints’ Defensive Turnaround
The last time I wrote about the Saints defense, it was really struggling. Through the first three weeks of the season, this is how the defensive metrics looked:
- Points allowed: 34.3 (32nd)
- Completion percentage: 74.2% (31st)
- Passing yards per attempt: 10.9 (32nd)
- QB rating: 141.7 (32nd)
- Sack rate: 6.1% (20th)
- Takeaways per game: 0.33 (32nd)
In other words: The Saints were pretty clearly the worst defense in the league.
They were blowing coverage left and right, and getting crushed in the slot. They were also struggling to mount any kind of a pass rush. Fortunately for the Saints, head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen didn’t quit. They simplified the calls on defense, leading to fewer busted coverages, and they improved the personnel.