The Dallas Cowboys (7-4) head down to the French Quarter to take on the New Orleans Saints (5-6) tonight on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 13. The Saints see some much-needed playmakers return while the Cowboys are facing some heavy losses due to COVID-19. Will the Cowboys be able to bounce back from their two-game skid against a reeling Saints team? Here’s the start time, channel, and live streams for Thursday Night Football, as well as a preview and prediction.
What channel is Thursday Night Football on tonight?
- Channel: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video
- Time: 8:15 PM ET
- Live streams:
- NFL Mobile App
- YouTube TV
What to expect from tonight’s Cowboys vs. Saints game?
The season has come crashing down quickly for both of these franchises. After a hot start to the season, New Orleans lost starting QB Jameis Winston to a torn ACL in their Week 8 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the Saints have lost four games in a row while also seeing key contributors miss some time.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys sprinted to their own 6-1 start, only to lose three of their last four. Can Dallas turn things around before the rest of the NFC East catches up to their divisional lead?
Dallas sees key players return while a bevy of coaches are out
COVID-19 has not affected the NFL nearly as much as the 2020 season, but some teams have still had noteworthy absences due to the virus. Add the Cowboys to that list in 2021.
Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy will miss tonight’s Thursday Night Football action after testing positive for the virus this past Monday. He is joined by RT Terence Steele, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, and Philbin’s assistants.
While the coaching losses could introduce a considerable challenge, that challenge gets alleviated a bit by some Dallas players returning to action tonight. Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb fully cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and will return in Week 13 after almost suiting up against the Raiders in Week 12. According to reports from Dallas after the Thanksgiving game, RB Ezekiel Elliott suffered a bone bruise but was a full participant in Monday’s practice.
The most significant question mark heading into tonight’s game is WR Amari Cooper. Cooper has missed the past two games while being on the reserve/COVID-19 list. After missing practice Monday and Tuesday and still dealing with a cough, his status tonight is hanging in the balance.
The Saints look a bit more familiar tonight on Thursday Night Football
The four-game losing streak looms large as New Orleans searches for answers of where to go from here. The Saints are tied for the seventh seed in the NFC playoffs but sit at 10th after tiebreakers are factored in. Luckily for New Orleans, their offensive nightmare should be relieved tonight on Thursday Night Football.
The most important player on the offense, RB Alvin Kamara, has been sidelined for three weeks. Then, the situation in the backfield hit the fan in Week 12 when RB Mark Ingram was also out. Both RBs have seen upgrades on the Saints’ injury report. Ingram was a full participant in practice on Monday and Tuesday, meaning the RB will have no injury designation tonight for TNF. Kamara has logged two limited sessions after not participating in practice last week. Getting Ingram back opens things up, but this matchup becomes more intriguing if Kamara suits up tonight.
Despite the recent losing streak, New Orleans still has a chance to make the postseason. The various injuries on defense have been taking their toll, but head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen have rolled with the punches.
The past two losses have been anomalies with little to no offensive support. If the offense can find some traction in QB Taysom Hill’s first start, this game will be much closer than most people think. The Cowboys will give it their all, but the coaching situation helps the Saints win tonight’s Thursday Night Football game.
Cowboys vs. Saints Prediction: Saints 24, Cowboys 21
Thursday Night Football Schedule: September
- Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – September 9
- Final: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29
- New York Giants at Washington Football Team – September 16
- Final: Washington 30, Giants 29
- Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans – September 23
- Final: Panthers 24, Texans 9
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals – September 30
- Final: Bengals 24, Jaguars 21
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks – October 7
- Final: Rams 26, Seattle 17
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles – October 14
- Final: Buccaneers 28, Eagles 22
- Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns – October 21
- Final: Browns 17, Broncos 14
- Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – October 28
- Final: Packers 24, Cardinals 21
- New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts – November 4
- Final: Colts 45, Jets 30
- Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins – November 11
- Final: Dolphins 22, Ravens 10
- New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – November 18
- Final: Patriots 25, Falcons 0
- Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints – November 25
- Final: Bills 31, Saints 6
- Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – December 2
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings – December 9
- Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers – December 16
- San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans – December 23