The race for this year’s playoffs is hotting up in the NFL, and Thursday’s match between Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints will give us a clearer indication of where things stand.
At the moment, the Cowboys sit fourth in the NFC playoff standings, with their 7-4 record only bettered by the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Opponents New Orleans have work to do if they are to join them, with Sean Payton’s side 5-6 after a shaky few weeks.
Life Just Got Easier for McCarthy
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy has had to do things the hard way of late, with his team struggling with injuries as well as positive Covid-19 cases.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper was activated from the Cowboys’ reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday morning, meaning the Cowboys now have some real class returning to their roster.
Cooper has missed the last two weeks of training and games, while the Cowboys have also been without fellow receiver CeeDee Lamb due to a concussion.
Dallas, led by quarterback Dak Prescott, have struggled to remain consistent at times in the last few weeks, and their receiver duo could not be returning at a better time.
McCarthy’s men have lost three of their last four while they battled injuries, but with their attacking weapons back healthy, they look good value to cover the -4.5 handicap at 25/27.
Toothless Saints to Struggle Once Again
While the playoffs are not totally out of reach for the Saints, it looks like they will miss out in 2021 unless they can dramatically change their fortunes.
Payton lost quarterback Jameis Winston earlier this season, meaning Taysom Hill has been under centre for the majority of the season. Running back Alvin Kamara is questionable for Thursday’s encounter, as is left tackle, Terron Armstead.
Four straight defeats will have taken their toll on the Saints’ dressing room, and it would come as no surprise to see them struggle with the ball in hand.
New Orleans scored only six points against Buffalo Bills last week, while the Cowboys will welcome Demarcus Lawrence after missing the last ten games with a foot injury. The pash rusher is widely regarded as one of the best in his position in the NFL, and he could keep the Saints relatively quiet on Thursday evening.
Under 47.5 points is worth considering at 25/27, as the bet would have landed in the previous three meetings between the pair, which have all been low scoring.
*All odds correct at time of writing