The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 9, 2013

Cowboys, Saints aim to keep division pursuers at bay

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

Ryan’s revenge: When Rob Ryan was fired by Dallas, Saints coach Sean Payton quickly took him off the market, hoping he could restore credibility to a New Orleans defense that yielded an NFL record 7,042 yards in 2012. This season, the Saints ranked ninth in yards allowed through last weekend, on pace to give up about 107 fewer yards per game. Saints defensive players say Ryan hasn’t said much about his desire to deal his old employer a loss, not that they would blame him if he did.

Run aground: Both the Cowboys and Saints have struggled running the ball lately. New Orleans gained 41 yards on the ground last weekend and ranks 26th in rushing. The Cowboys ran the ball a franchise-low nine times for 36 yards in last week’s win over Minnesota, even though DeMarco Murray returned after missing two games with a left knee injury. Dallas coach Jason Garrett and New Orleans coach Sean Payton both said this week that their teams need to run the ball more often.

Dome advantage: The Saints have won 13 straight in the Superdome with Sean Payton in the building. They went 9-0 in the 2011 season, including playoffs. Payton was suspended in connection with the NFL’s bounty probe for 2012, when the Saints went 4-4 at home.

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