For the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome on Thursday night, the "inactive and injury list'' - who is playing and who isn't - is a star-studded thing.
The good news for Dallas: the Cowboys welcome back receiver Amari Cooper (COVID), receiver CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (foot surgery). Dallas had until 3 p.m Thursday to make the decision to activate Lawrence, who has been out since September foot surgery. Along with Cooper, he has been activated, and the plan is for him to play.
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 Dallas inactives: Inactives: Cedrick Wilson, Will Grier and Azur Kamara (‘the other A. Kamara.
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.
And Hill faces challenges, as the Saints' scratches include superstar runner Alvin Kamara (knee).
The Cowboys' list is driven largely by the COVID-19 rollercoaster, with daily additions and subtractions on the COVID reserve/injury report. Notables on the COVID list: McCarthy, offensive tackle Terence Steele and cornerback Nahshon Wright ... and half-a-dozen coaches, including McCarthy.
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The Cowboys (7-4) face the Saints (5-6) as five-point favorites. … or at least that’s whete the line was: it’s now 6.5 in some quarters. The over/under is 47.5 total points. More info ...
BETTING TRENDS: The Cowboys have covered the spread twice this season when favored by 4.5 points or more (in five chances).
PREDICTION: Under 47.5
GAME TIME: Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. CT
LOCATION: Caesars Superdome - New Orleans, La.
TV/RADIO: FOX, 105.3 The Fan
THE FINAL WORD: McCarthy on Quinn taking over coaching duties:
"Obviously he has the head coaching experience of being on the field and has also called a defense and managed a game. I think that Dan being down there, as far as our normal network of game management, clock management, all those things will be in place."