NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Thursday night's action in Dallas.
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys | Friday 30th November 2018, 01:20 | Sky Sports
A big contrast in styles are in store for this week’s Thursday Night Football.
On one hand we have the New Orleans Saints, who have won 10 straight games and feature a high-powered, fast-paced attack – the more modern offense you could say. Then on the other side there’s the more old fashioned Dallas Cowboys, who play a ball-control offense behind a stud RB in Ezekiel Elliott.
Strangely though, this style could well be Dallas’ best chance of handing New Orleans their first loss since Week 1. The Cowboys clearly don’t have anywhere near as explosive offense as the Saints, so keeping them off the field will be crucial, and the key to this will be getting Elliott going, as they have managed to during their three-game winning run.
Over this span he’s averaging 177 yards from scrimmage and whilst it won’t be easy against a Saints defence that ranks first against the run (allowing 73.2 yards a game), Elliott is more than capable of putting up big numbers again – the Redskins are a top 10 run defence and he burned them for 121 yards on the ground alone.
It’s no coincidence that Elliott has started having bigger games again since Amari Cooper came over from the Raiders either. Prior to this the Cowboys had no-one on the outside who could threaten defences and so they all just packed the box to stop Zeke.
This is no longer the case with Cooper in Dallas and his massive 180 yard and two TD game last week should mean the Saints won’t just put all their resources into stopping Elliott, who will get some lighter boxes to attack. I’ll be backing him to top 119.5 rushing and receiving yards for the fourth game in a row.
Of course for Elliott to remain a focal point for Dallas, they have to stop Drew Brees and the Saints from building an early lead, and that’s where the Cowboys impressive defence comes in.
The front seven especially has been excellent of late and with New Orleans’ LT Terron Armstead ruled out of this game, Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will look to get after Brees. If they’re able to, this game should be kept close enough for the Cowboys to keep feeding Elliott the ball as he racks up yardage.
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliott to have Over 119.5 Rushing and Receiving Yards (10/11 Paddy Power)