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Cowboys Lead Saints 13-7 At Halftime

The Cowboys look to get back on track on Thursday Night Football against the Saints in New Orleans

The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are both coming off Thanksgiving Day losses one week ago. The Cowboys are losers of three of their last four games while the Saints are losers of four in a row, scoring just six total points against the Bills on Turkey Day to equal the lowest scoring total in the Sean Payton era.

Both teams are still squarely in the NFC playoff race, with Dallas leading the NFC East at 7-4 and the Saints at 5-6 stuck in a four-way tie for the seventh seed.

The Cowboys are without coach Mike McCarthy and other assistants due to COVID protocol but welcome back defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.

The defense started strong, holding New Orleans and quarterback Taysom Hill to just five plays and 12 yards on the opening drive forcing a punt. That would give Dallas a chance to flex its offensive muscles early.

But an incomplete Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb pass, an Ezekiel Elliott run for no gain, and an incomplete Prescott to Noah Brown pass forced a three and out on the Cowboys' first chance.

On New Orleans' second possession of the game, the Cowboys defense held the Saints to a 56-yard Brett Maher field goal attempt that was wide right, allowing the Cowboys' offense to take over from their own 46.

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The Cowboys' offense would have a failed fourth-down attempt at the 5:11 mark of the first quarter. Instead of a 52 yard Greg Zuerlein field goal attempt on a fourth-and 2 from the Saints 34, Prescott threw behind Lamb as the pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.

Prescott would later connect with Cooper for 41 yards and Lamb for 32 yards on a drive that scored the Cowboys' first touchdown of the game with a one-yard pass to Michael Gallup. That capped off a six-play, 80-yard drive that took 3:16 off the clock and gave Dallas a 7-0 lead with just 59 seconds left in the opening quarter.

But the Saints answered with their own seven-play, 75-yard drive that finished with a Hill to Lil'Jordan Humphrey 24-yard touchdown pass tying the game with 12:54 left in the half.

The Cowboys took a 10-7 lead on the ensuing possession after a seven-play, 38-yard drive that took 3:50 off the clock, ended by a Zuerlein 55-yard field goal with 9:04 in the second quarter.

Dallas' defense came up big with the first turnover of the game late in the half when the Saints were driving toward either tying the game or taking the lead, as Hill threw deep to receiver Kenny Stills. The ball was tipped by linebacker Micah Parsons and safety Jayron Kearse dove for the ball falling out of bounds and managed to drag both feet in bounds to complete the interception.

 The Cowboys converted that turnover into three points after a 12 play, 79-yard drive and a Zuerlein 34-yard field goal. 

The Cowboys lead at the half 13-7, and will have the ball to start the third quarter.