Final

Saints 42

(9-4, 5-2 away)

Cowboys 17

(8-5, 4-2 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:15 PM ET, December 10, 2006

Texas Stadium, Irving, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 0 21 21 042
DAL 7 0 10 017

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 384 YDS, 5 TD

Rushing: J. Jones (DAL) - 10 CAR, 116 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Glenn (DAL) - 8 REC, 150 YDS

New Orleans (8-4) at Dallas (8-4)

New Orleans (8-4) at Dallas (8-4) Sunday 8:15 pm EST

IRVING, Texas (Ticker) -- The Dallas Cowboys have Sean Payton to thank for quarterback Tony Romo.

Payton returns to the Lone Star State to face the Cowboys as coach of the surprising New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Payton was an assistant with the Cowboys the last three seasons before being tabbed as the Saints' new coach in January. He served as the Cowboys' passing game coordinator last season.

A former quarterback at Division I-AA Eastern Illinois in college, Payton made a huge contribution in Dallas, suggesting the club sign Romo, who also went Eastern Illinois. The advice by Payton has turned into gold for the Cowboys, who signed Romo as an undrafted free agent in 2003.

All Romo has done since replacing veteran Drew Bledsoe as the starter is gone 5-1 while leading the Cowboys to the top of the NFC East, where they hold a two-game over the New York Giants and Philadelphia.

In his six starts, Romo has completed 131-of-189 passes for 1,683 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions.

Romo directed a late drive last Sunday that Martin Gramatica capped with a 46-yard field goal with one second remaining to give Dallas a 23-20 victory over the Giants.

Dallas, which has won four straight, plays three of its final four games at home.

While Romo has excelled, Payton's Saints are having just as much success. They enter with a two-game lead over both Carolina and Atlanta in the NFC South.

Payton, who tried to trade for Romo when he came to New Orleans, wound up signing Drew Brees as a free agent. That move also has paid off since Brees leads the league with 3,649 passing yards to go along with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Brees could be without both of his starting wide receivers for this contest. Rookie Marques Colston, who has 54 catches for 869 yards and seven touchdowns, has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, and veteran Joe Horn left last Sunday's contest against San Francisco with a groin injury.

Rookie Reggie Bush enjoyed his best game of the season in the 34-10 victory over San Francisco, rushing for three touchdowns and catching another score. He finished with nine catches for 131 yards and rushed for 37 yards on 10 attempts in tying Horn's club record for TDs in a game.

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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
 
 392
DAL
 
 361
Yards PassingNO
 
 281
DAL
 
 240
Yards RushingNO
 
 110
DAL
 
 121
TEAM DEFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Yards AllowedNO
 
 307
DAL
 
 323
Pass Yds AllowedNO
 
 178
DAL
 
 219
Rush Yds AllowedNO
 
 129
DAL
 
 104

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

New Orleans leads 3-0
Dec 12, 2004NO 27, @DAL 13
Dec 28, 2003NO 13, DAL 7