The Dallas Cowboys could use a break.
The Dallas Cowboys are getting a break.
The New Orleans Saints have, via sources to NFL Network, decided to play Thursday night without star running back Alvin Kamara (knee). Pair that with the absence of tackles Ryan Ramczyk (knee) and Terron Armstead (knee), and the 7-4 Cowboys have just been given less justification for any tendency to feel sorry for themselves.
The good news in the Cowboys camp: They welcome back receiver Amari Cooper (COVID), receiver CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and (hopefully) defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (foot surgery). Dallas has until 3 p.m Thursday to make the decision to activate Lawrence, who has been out since September foot surgery. Cooper has been activated, and the plan is for him to play.
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Running back Ezekiel Elliott (knee) is available and practiced fully Wednesday as he did all week, while receiver Cedrick Wilson (ankle) did not practice this week and is out.
Cowboys' coach Mike McCarthy will miss Thursday's game after testing positive for COVID. To fill McCarthy's void, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will move from the booth to the sideline to call the shots Thursday. The familiarity is there for Quinn, who in six years as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons went 2-4 in NFC South rivalry games in the Superdome.
The Saints are making a change at quarterback with the Cowboys coming to town. Taysom Hill, the all-purpose player who is more of a runner than a thrower, will start at quarterback, with Trevor Siemian taking backup duties.
The Cowboys entered the week as five-point favorites. The odds continue to stack up in their favor in a way that suggests they should be able to stack up a victory.