Keys to Victory

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Keys To Victory: Battle Of Two Desperate Teams

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The Cowboys are done with the AFC teams and they can be thankful for that, going just 1-3, including losing three of the last four games.

They're also moving on to December, although New Orleans is the start of three straight road games.

The Saints are trying to stay alive in the playoff picture and the Cowboys should now be focused once again on just winning the NFC East, as Washington is closing the gap.

Here's a look at the keys to victory for both the Saints and Cowboys.

The Cowboys will win if…

The Cowboys are the superior team, but they must bring their A-game to get a win against a desperate Saints' squad. The team needs to tighten up in all areas, particularly with the turnovers, penalties, and big plays allowed, to chalk up win No.8 on Thursday night. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott need to receive enough touches (30-plus combined) to set the tone for an offense that needs to get back to playing balanced football. If No.20 and No.22 are rolling, Dak Prescott will have an easier time finding his playmakers on the perimeter on a variety of intermediate and deep passes that forces the Saints to remove some defenders out of the box. Defensively, the Cowboys need to keep the ball in front of the defense and rally to the ball like a pack of wolves. If the Cowboys simply take care of the small details and play a clean game, the Saints' game should be an opportunity to get back on track and return to their winning ways.

The Saints will win if…

Sean Payton will need to pull out all of the stops to knock off the Cowboys. He will need to come up with a creative game plan that enables Taysom HIll to impact the game as a runner, passer, and receiver on game day. Sure, the dual-threat playmaker is expected to start at quarterback, but the Saints' punchless offense could tap into his skills as a dynamic athlete to produce more plays and score points in a must-win game for them. If Alvin Kamara is able to play, he must play a key role as the featured player in a game plan that has to revolve around No.7 and No.41 to give the Saints a chance to put up points.

Defensively, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will need to turn up the pressure to stop the Cowboys' potent running game and put the pressure on Dak Prescott to make throws under duress. If the Saints can win the turnover battle and find a way to play from in front, the team has enough veterans with winning pedigrees to knock off a playoff contender in a primetime game.

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