The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 9, 2013

Cowboys, Saints aim to keep division pursuers at bay

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints have been wrestling with a bout of inconsistency lately.

The Dallas Cowboys can relate.

As they head into an eagerly anticipated matchup on Sunday night, the Saints (6-2) and Cowboys (5-4) have little margin for error if they want to maintain tenuous perches atop their divisions.

New Orleans is coming off a 26-20 loss to the New York Jets that marked the Saints’ second setback in three games, allowing their closest pursuer in the NFC South, the Carolina Panthers, to pull with one game.

“If we were able to put together a (late) drive and win that Jets game we would be sitting here 7-1 and saying we feel pretty good,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “We just didn’t get the job done. That part is disappointing. And then you kind of look at the stretch ahead and it doesn’t get easier. It is going to be extremely tough. It is almost like a new season begins.”

The Cowboys stumbled to three losses in their first five games, but have won three of their past four — good enough to give Dallas a one-game lead over Philadelphia in the NFC East.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s 2,553 yards passing through Week 9 ranks third in the NFC, and his chemistry with receiver Dez Bryant appears fine, regardless of any passionate exchanges they’ve had recently. Bryant is tied for third in the NFL in touchdowns receiving with eight.

However, Dallas’ defense ranks 31st against the pass, never good recipe for slowing down a record-setter like Brees. In addition, the Saints are unbeaten in the Superdome. Then there’s the subplot of Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan going against the club that fired him last season.

“It is going to be a tough scheme we are going against, a tough place to play, a tough offense on the other side,” Romo said. “But that is what makes the game great.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Furyk take three shot lead at the Canadian Open

    Associated Press MONTREAL — Jim Furyk moved into position for his third Canadian Open victory, shooting a 5-under 65 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead at Royal Montreal....

    July 27, 2014

  • Pair from U.S. will play for Junior title

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Davis Riley outlasted Sam Horsfield on the 21st hole Friday in the U.S. Junior Amateur to set up an all-American final against William Zalatoris....

    July 27, 2014

  • Dillon races to first career Nationwide win

    INDIANAPOLIS — For a first time winner, Ty Dillon had the Brickyard’s winning tradition down as cold as the celebratory beer he chugged outside his car. “We get to kiss the bricks, baby!” he radioed as he crossed the finish line....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gordon an Indy threat in 20 years at the Brickyard

    INDIANAPOLIS — The reminders that Jeff Gordon won here 20 years ago plaster Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

    July 27, 2014

  • Garagiola among those feted by baseball Hall of Fame

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Joe Garagiola couldn’t make the festivities in person. He wasn’t about to miss being part of a special moment....

    July 27, 2014

  • Adams leads Cards in win

    CHICAGO — Once again, the Cardinals relied on Matt Adams’ clutch bat. Adams drove in four runs, A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in his St. Louis debut and the Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 on Saturday to stop a four-game skid....

    July 27, 2014

  • Giants acquire righty Peavy from Red Sox

    SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants boosted their rotation for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitchers....

    July 27, 2014

  • Italian in command heading into Tour’s final stage

    BERGERAC, France — Ramunas Navardauskas gave Lithuania and his American team a stage victory Friday at the Tour de France. Now cycling’s great showcase is reduced to this — the race for second place behind Vincenzo Nibali....

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S. team takes two from Spain on second day

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A switch in pairings led to a change in fortune for the United States in the International Crown....

    July 26, 2014

  • Johnny Football address’ rookie mistake’s during mini camp

    BEREA, Ohio — Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel acknowledged he has “made some rookie mistakes” during the off-season, but doesn’t think his partying has hurt his chances of winning a starting job....

    July 26, 2014