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Cowboys 100: Facts and stats for Week 13 duel at New Orleans Saints

The Dallas Cowboys will attempt to pad their all-time series lead to 18 wins in 31 tries against the New Orleans Saints in a Week 13 Thursday Night matchup

DALLAS — For the first time during the 2021 season, the Dallas Cowboys stare true adversity in the face following a 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving. 

The demoralizing defeat gave Dallas their first losing streak of the season, with the Cowboys dropping three of the four games in November overall.

As the calendar flips to December, 7-4 Dallas gets an early crack at ending their slide with a trip to New Orleans where they will take on the 5-6 Saints in a Thursday night tilt. 

The Saints themselves are fresh off a 31-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving so neither of these teams will be in a particularly good mood.

With Dallas still up by a couple of games over Washington in the NFC East, they have ample time to pull out of their tailspin. Meanwhile, New Orleans is tied for second place in the NFC South and aiming to stay afloat in the playoff hunt.

With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys look for their eighth win of the season:

14 SERIES FACTS

1. The Cowboys are 7-4 for the 12th time in team history. Here are the final fates of the other 11 teams:

  • Missed playoffs: 1984, 1986, 2005, 2008, 2011
  • Lost wildcard: 2006
  • Lost divisional: 1985, 1996
  • Lost conference: 1973
  • Lost Super Bowl: 1970
  • Won Super Bowl: 1993

2. Since 1990, 90 of the 110 teams that started 8-4 made the playoffs with 48 of those teams ultimately winning the division.

3. Since 1990, 71 of the 130 teams that started 7-5 made the playoffs with 25 of those teams coming away with the division.

4. The Saints are 5-6 for the ninth time in franchise history. Only one of those previous eight teams made the playoffs: 1990.

5. Since 1990, 35 of the 128 teams that started 6-6 made the playoffs with 12 of those teams eventually winning the division.

6. Since 1990, just 9 of 145 teams that started 5-7 made the playoffs with three of those teams claiming the division.

7. Dallas is 6-9 in New Orleans with their last win coming on Dec. 19, 2009. Here are the results by venue:

Tulane Stadium: 3-1

Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 3-8

8. The Cowboys are 5-6 against the Saints in December with a 2-3 record on the road.

9. The Cowboys are 72-76-1 in their blue jerseys.

10. The Cowboys are wearing their blue jerseys for the third time in New Orleans since 2015. Prior to that, they had not worn their blue jerseys in New Orleans since 1971, ending a 45-season drought. The city with the longest blue jersey drought is Pittsburgh at 51.

11. The Cowboys are 2-3 in their blue jerseys against the Saints with an 0-2 record in the Caesars Superdome.

12. The Saints are the only NFC team that the Cowboys have not played in the postseason. Comparatively, Dallas is among three NFC teams that New Orleans hasn’t faced in the playoffs. The other two are New York and Washington.

13. From 1967-69, the Cowboys amassed five wins over the expansion Saints. This ties with the Falcons for the Cowboys’ second-best start against an expansion team. Franchise first place is six straight wins over the Buccaneers.

14. The Saints are one of four teams to have once been but are no longer division opponents with Dallas for more than a season. The other three teams are the Cardinals, Browns, and Steelers.

10 DAK PRESCOTT FACTS

1. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts, Prescott’s 70.6% completion percentage on first down is the fifth-highest in the NFL.

2. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts, Prescott’s 99.6 passer rating is the 10th-highest in the NFL on first down.

3. Prescott is tied for the eighth-most interceptions thrown on first down with three.

4. Prescott’s 69.4% completion percentage is the fourth-most in the league.

5. Prescott’s 22 touchdown passes are tied with Joe Burrow for the eighth-most in the NFL.

6. Prescott’s 1.9 interception percentage is tied for the 10th-lowest in the league.

7. Prescott’s 7.8 yards per pass attempt is the seventh-highest in the NFL.

8. Prescott’s 104.2 passer rating is the fifth-highest in the league.

9. Prescott is tied with Patrick Mahomes for the sixth-lowest sack percentage at 4.3% per dropback.

10. Prescott has the 10th-most red zone passing touchdowns with 13.

4 TAYSOM HILL FACTS

1. One of Hill’s best games came against the Falcons on Nov. 22, 2020, when he went 18-of-23 for 233 yards, posted a 108.9 passer rating, and rushed 10 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Acting head coach and current defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had departed Atlanta as their head coach by that point in the season.

2. Hill went 3-1 as a starter last season.

3. Hill’s highest passing yards in a game is 291 set on Dec. 13, 2020, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

4. Hill has scored five rushing touchdowns on third down, tied for the sixth-most since 2018.

13 EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS

1. Elliott has never gone over the 100-yard or 4.0 yards per carry mark against the Saints:

2018 – NO, 13-10 – W – 23 carries, 75 yards; six catches, 60 yards, touchdown

2019 – @NO, 10-12 – L – 18 carries, 35 yards, touchdown; six catches, 30 yards

2. Elliott’s 97 rushing attempts on first down is the sixth-most in the NFL.

3. Elliott is tied with James Robinson for the seventh-most first downs on first down carries with 14.

4. Among ball carriers with at least 60 attempts, Elliott’s 4.72 yards per carry are the seventh-most in the NFL on first down.

5. Elliott’s 458 rushing yards on first down are the fourth-most in the NFL.

6. Elliott’s 160 carries are the seventh-most in the NFL.

7. Elliott’s 720 rushing yards are the seventh-most in the league.

8. Elliott is tied with Damien Harris and Jalen Hurts for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns with eight.

9. Elliott’s eight rushing touchdowns are the third-most in his career for a single season.

10. Elliott’s eight rushing touchdowns are all in the red zone, tied with Derrick Henry for the fourth-most in the NFL.

11. Elliott is tied with A.J. Dillon and Leonard Fournette for the seventh-most third down conversions on the ground with 10.

12. Elliott has the eighth-most rushing attempts on third down with 17.

13. Elliott’s 4.17 yards per carry on third down is the seventh-most among ball carriers with at least 15 such attempts.

7 DAN QUINN FACTS

1. Acting head coach Quinn did not take part in the Falcons-Saints series in 2020 as the head coach in Atlanta as he was fired after an 0-5 start.

2. Quinn is 4-6 against the Saints as a head coach, with a 2-3 record in New Orleans.

3. When Quinn’s Falcons were 7-4 (2016-17), they slipped to 7-5 each time.

4. Quinn is 7 for 23 at snapping a losing streak as head coach.

5. Quinn coached teams are 15-7 in December with an 8-4 record on the road.

6. Quinn is 12-14 against Super Bowl-winning coaches with a 5-8 record on the road.

7. Quinn is 10 for 23 on challenges for his career.

7 SEAN PAYTON FACTS

1. Payton is 5-6 in a season for the fourth time as head coach. All of the previous three teams finished 7-9 (2007, 2012, 2016).

2. Payton is now 13-10 without Drew Brees.

3. Sean Payton has more wins against the Dallas Cowboys than any other head coach in Saints history:

  • Tom Fears: 0-5
  • J.D. Roberts: 1-0
  • John North: 0-1
  • Hank Stram: 0-1
  • Dick Nolan: 0-1
  • Bum Phillips: 0-3
  • Jim Mora: 2-3
  • Mike Ditka: 2-0
  • Jim Haslett: 2-0
  • Joe Vitt: 1-0
  • Sean Payton: 5-3

4. Prior to becoming head coach in New Orleans, all of Sean Payton’s professional coaching experience came as an assistant in the NFC East. Here is his record against NFC East teams:

  • Philadelphia: 6-4
  • New York: 5-2
  • Dallas: 5-3
  • Washington: 4-3

5. Payton leads all New Orleans coaches with a 34-21 record in prime time, including the playoffs. Here is how he fares with other Saints coaches:

  • J.D. Roberts: 0-1
  • John North: 0-2
  • Dick Nolan: 0-2
  • Bum Phillips: 1-2
  • Jim Mora, Sr.: 11-11
  • Rick Venturi: 0-1
  • Mike Ditka: 1-2
  • Jim Haslett: 4-7
  • Sean Payton: 34-21
  • Aaron Kromer: 1-0
  • Joe Vitt: 1-2

6. Payton is 57 for 128 on challenges for his career with an 0 for 2 rate in 2021.

7. Payton was the first among six assistant coaches on the 2005 Cowboys staff to be hired as a head coach. The other four were the late Tony Sparano (2008 Dolphins), Todd Haley (2009 Chiefs), Mike Zimmer (2014 Vikings), Todd Bowles (2015 Jets), and Anthony Lynn (2017 Chargers). Payton, Zimmer, and Lynn are the only ones to win playoff games. Zimmer and Payton are the only ones to maintain their position.

12 BROADCAST FACTS

1. The Saints began playing in 1967 and have appeared in 105 prime time games. Since 1995, the Cowboys have appeared in 119.

2. Dallas and New Orleans have played in 11 prime time games in their series with the Cowboys holding a 6-5 advantage:

  • 1973 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC – 40-3 Cowboys
  • 1984 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC* – 30-27 Cowboys
  • 1988 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 20-17 Saints
  • 1994 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 24-16 Cowboys
  • 2006 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 42-17 Saints
  • 2009 – Cowboys-Saints – NFLN – 24-17 Cowboys
  • 2013 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 49-17 Saints
  • 2014 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 38-17 Cowboys
  • 2015 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 26-20 Saints
  • 2018 – Saints-Cowboys – FOX/NFL Network – 13-10 Cowboys
  • 2019 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 12-10 Saints

*Sunday night special, delayed 9:45 p.m. Central due to Reagan-Mondale presidential debate

3. Thursday’s game makes for the 12th prime time game in the series. This series has seen 16 early games and 3 late games. Here’s the Cowboys’ records for each time slot:

  • Early games: 9-7
  • Late games: 2-1
  • Prime time: 6-5

4. The Cowboys are 9-5 on NFL Network with a 5-1 record on Thursday nights, a 4-3 mark on Saturday nights, and an 0-1 mark on Tuesday nights.

5. The Saints are 4-6 on NFL Network with a 3-5 record on Thursday nights, an 0-1 mark on Saturday nights, and a 1-0 mark on Friday nights.

6. Dallas is 148-135 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.

7. New Orleans is 170-165 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.

8. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are calling their fourth game together in the series, and were the 20th of 22 broadcast teams to call a game in the series.

9. The Cowboys are 43-51 when Buck does play-by-play for their games.

10. The Saints are 23-19 when Buck does play-by-play for their games.

11. Dallas is 49-57 when Aikman does commentary for their games.

12. New Orleans is 19-15 when Aikman does commentary for their games.

12 BRAD ROGERS FACTS

1. This week’s referee is Brad Rogers. The Cowboys are 2-2 with Rogers officiating the action:

  • 2018 – @NYJ, 22-24 – L
  • 2019 – @CHI, 24-31 – L
  • 2020 – ATL, 40-39 – W
  • 2021 – PHI, 41-21 – W

2. The Cowboys have had fewer penalties than the opposition 3 of 4 times with Rogers:

  • 2018 – NYJ: 8/105; DAL: 9/68
  • 2019 – CHI: 4/30; DAL: 6/52
  • 2020 – ATL: 8/51; DAL: 7/75
  • 2021 – PHI: 13/86; DAL: 4/37

3. Rogers is tied for the sixth-highest (.546) home team winning percentage among referees.

4. Rogers has the third-lowest (.273) percentage of games with home teams receiving fewer penalties.

5. The Saints are 2-2 with Rogers:

  • 2019 – @TB, 34-17 – W
  • 2020 – GB, 30-37 – L
  • 2020 – SF, 27-13 – W
  • 2021 – NYG, 21-27 – L-OT

6. The Saints have had fewer penalties 1 of 4 times with Rogers:

  • 2019 – TB: 7/55; NO: 9/76
  • 2020 – GB: 2/10; NO: 8/83
  • 2020 – SF: 6/51; NO: 5/61
  • 2021 – NYG: 3/25; NO: 5/35

7. Rogers’ games are tied for the third-lowest (3.9) in terms of sacks:

8. Rogers’ crew is tied for the most (3.6) offensive holding calls per game:

9. The Cowboys are 1 for 3 challenging Rogers. Opponents are 1 for 2. Replay Assistant is 1 for 1.

10. The Saints are 1 for 2 challenging Rogers. Opponents are 0 for 2 and replay Assistant is 2 for 3 with two of those calls benefiting New Orleans.

11. Rogers has the sixth-lowest (.286, 2 of 7) coaches challenge overturn rate.

12. Rogers has the seventh-highest rate (.667, 4 of 6) of the booth review overturning his calls.

21 MISCELLANEOUS FACTS

1. The Saints have had three ex-Cowboys assistants as head coaches: Dick Nolan, Mike Ditka, and Sean Payton. Nolan is the only one who did not get a win against the Cowboys.

2. Cowboys pro scouting director Alex Loomis is the son of Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.

3. The late Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Saints in 1985. Along with Jerry Jones, they are two of six owners who began their tenures in the 1980s. The other four owners were Virginia Halas McCaskey (1983), the late Alex Spanos (1984), the late Pat Bowlen (1984), and the late Dan Rooney (1988).

4. Not even a year into his NFL ownership, Jerry Jones led a group known as the Chicago 11 to block the installation of then-Saints GM Jim Finks as Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s replacement. Ultimately, Paul Tagliabue succeeded Rozelle thanks to Jones and the Chicago 11.

5. Micah Parsons has the 10th-most sacks in the NFL with 9.0.

6. Parsons is also tied with Myles Garrett for the second-most tackles for loss with 15.

7. Parsons is tied with Nick Bosa for the fourth-most quarterback hits with 23.

8. The Cowboys are tied for the seventh-most takeaways in the league with 19.

9. The Cowboys and Saints are tied with the Patriots for the eighth-most quarterback hits with 73.

10. The Saints have the most tackles for loss in the NFL with 62.

11. Opposing quarterbacks have compiled an 83.6 passer rating against the Cowboys defense, the fourth-lowest in the league.

12. Opposing quarterbacks have compiled an 88.6 passer rating against the Saints defense, tied with the Texans for the 10th-lowest in the NFL.

13. The Saints defense allows the lowest yards per carry at 3.4.

14. The Saints defense gives up 91.9 rushing yards per game, the third-lowest in the league.

15. New Orleans’ defense has the second-lowest red zone prevention rate at 47.1%.

16. New Orleans has the second-highest red zone conversion rate at 71.1%.

17. The Saints have the fourth-best average starting field position at their own 31.2-yard line.

18. The Cowboys are 7-0 on Dec. 2. Here are the results:

  • 1962 — CLE, 45-21 — W
  • 1973 — @DEN, 22-10 — W
  • 1979 — NYG, 28-7 — W
  • 1984 — @PHI, 26-10 — W
  • 1990 — NO, 17-13 — W
  • 2001 — @WAS, 20-14 — W
  • 2012 — PHI, 38-33 — W

19. The Saints are 1-5 on Dec. 2. Here are the results:

  • 1973 — @GB, 10-30 — L
  • 1984 — @RAM, 21-34 — L
  • 1990 — @NO, 13-17 — L
  • 2001 — CAR, 27-23 — W
  • 2007 — TB, 23-27 — L
  • 2013 — @SEA, 7-34 — L

20. The Cowboys have two birthdays to celebrate on Dec. 2:

  • 1965 — Billy Owens, CB, 1988
  • 1989 — Robert Turbin, RB, 2015

21. The Cowboys also have a death to remember in Gene Babb, who played fullback for the 1960-61 teams. Babb was born in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 27, 1934 and passed away on Dec. 2, 2018.

Do you think the Cowboys will grab a win in New Orleans for the first time since 2009? Share your predictions with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.