Final

Saints 30

(8-3, 4-1 away)

Cowboys 27

(3-8, 1-5 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, November 25, 2010

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 17 3 3 730
DAL 0 6 14 727

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 352 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Austin (DAL) - 1 CAR, 60 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Colston (NO) - 6 REC, 105 YDS

Saints-Cowboys Preview

STATS LLC

After an inconsistent first five weeks, the New Orleans Saints seem to be regaining their Super Bowl form and are getting healthier.

The Dallas Cowboys are also playing their best football of the season, but it's followed a disastrous first two months.

Playing in their first Thanksgiving Day game, the Saints hope to have Reggie Bush back as they go for their fourth straight win in a road matchup with the Cowboys, who are trying to move to 3-0 under interim coach Jason Garrett.

New Orleans (7-3) averaged an NFL-best 31.9 points during its 2009 Super Bowl season but got off to a shaky start this year, going 3-2 while averaging 19.8 points. The Saints, one game back of Atlanta in the NFC South, have since won four of five, averaging 29.8 points in those victories.

"The time you want to be playing your best is now," quarterback Drew Brees said after a 34-19 win over Seattle on Sunday. "You want to be escalating here as November and December come around. Here we are, we've won three in a row. I feel like we're playing better and better each week."

Improving on Sunday's performance won't be easy, as New Orleans racked up 494 yards of offense -- its most since Week 1 of last season -- with Brees passing for 382 yards and four touchdowns. The Saints also moved the ball on the ground despite the absence Bush and Pierre Thomas, as undrafted rookie Chris Ivory rushed for 99 yards.

"(Sunday) we played at times as well as we've played all season," said Brees, who is averaging 313.3 yards to go with eight passing TDs during the three-game winning streak. "That gets you excited because you feel like, man, we're knocking at the door. Just imagine if we can continue to kind of get all the weapons back."

The Saints are hoping Bush returns Thursday after he sat out his eighth straight game Sunday with a broken bone in his right leg. Bush worked out on the field before the Seattle game, but New Orleans decided to make him a late scratch.

The Saints could also have safeties Malcolm Jenkins (neck) and Darren Sharper (hamstring) along with tight end Jeremy Shockey (rib) back for this game.

"We are on the cusp," Brees said.

Last season, the Saints didn't experience the same injury issues and won their first 13 games. The dream of a perfect season ended when Dallas handed them a 24-17 loss at the Superdome on Dec. 19.

The Cowboys' victory over New Orleans, which ended a five-game skid in the series, spurred a season-ending three-game winning streak that lifted Dallas to the NFC East title. The Cowboys -- winners of four straight on Thanksgiving Day -- were expected to again contend for the division crown, but have instead been one of the league's biggest disappointments.

Dallas (3-7), though, is starting to get things turned around under Garrett.

After Wade Philips was fired and Garrett took over, the Cowboys snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the New York Giants 33-20 on Nov. 14, then beat Detroit 35-19 on Sunday.

"When you are looking for crumbs, it doesn't take but a little piece to get you to smile, and these (wins) have been a couple of nice little pieces," owner Jerry Jones said.

The offense is running smoothly behind quarterback Jon Kitna, who has more wins this season than injured starter Tony Romo. The defense is also looking solid after allowing an average of 35.8 points during the skid.

Brees and the Saints should provide a good test of that defensive progress. Dallas did a decent job against him last season, as the four-time Pro Bowler finished with 298 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Kitna has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the last two games, and the Cowboys have put up back-to-back 30-point efforts after reaching that mark once in their first eight.

Kitna is benefiting from a resurgent ground game. Dallas has averaged 117.0 rushing yards in the last two games after totaling 130 in the previous three.

"The people I'm playing with allow me to play at this level," said Kitna, who rushed 29 yards for a TD against the Lions, the longest run of his 14-year career. "When they're playing like that, the quarterback position becomes easy."

It might not be so easy Thursday. The Saints rank second in passing defense at 186.3 yards and have allowed just seven touchdowns through the air.

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Passing Leaders

New OrleansCMP%YDSTDINT
D. Brees68.651623912
DallasCMP%YDSTDINT
T. Romo63.938283110
K. Orton64.739822

Rushing Leaders

New OrleansCARYDSAVGTD
P. Thomas1475493.72
M. Ingram783864.91
DallasCARYDSAVGTD
D. Murray21711215.29
J. Randle541643.02

Receiving Leaders

New OrleansRECYDSAVGTD
J. Graham86121514.116
M. Colston7594312.65
DallasRECYDSAVGTD
D. Bryant93123313.313
J. Witten7385111.78

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

TEAM OFFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Total YardsNO
 
 373
DAL
 
 364
Yards PassingNO
 
 278
DAL
 
 253
Yards RushingNO
 
 95
DAL
 
 112
TEAM DEFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Yards AllowedNO
 
 306
DAL
 
 352
Pass Yds AllowedNO
 
 194
DAL
 
 243
Rush Yds AllowedNO
 
 112
DAL
 
 108

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

New Orleans leads 4-1
Dec 19, 2009NO 17, DAL 24
Dec 10, 2006NO 42, @DAL 17
Dec 12, 2004NO 27, @DAL 13
Dec 28, 2003NO 13, DAL 7