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ProFootballDoc: Lots of Injury Issues to Consider for DAL vs NO

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Lack of rest in a short week is not the case for this Thursday night. Both teams have had a full seven days off as they both last played (and lost) on Thanksgiving. There are still lots of key injuries to discuss.

DALLAS -4.5 vs NEW ORLEANS

The Cowboys are the healthier side, but the Saints are on the rise. The FanDuel line was at 6 but now has settled at 4.5 with New Orleans returning some key offensive weapons.

Dallas essentially has all its offensive starters, although there are a couple of concerns. Amari Cooper has come off the COVID list, but he was reported to have recent symptoms and may not be his usual self as reflected in his SIC score of 83. Ezekiel Elliot has been playing through his knee contusion for two months and will continue, and we have his health at 86 for his SIC score. Left tackle Tyron Smith is playing through his ankle bone spur. Right tackle Terrence Steele is out on the COVID list, but that just means La’el Collins gets his starting job back.

Defensively, the Cowboys get DeMarcus Lawrence back after his fifth metatarsal stress fracture and surgery. He is likely to be limited in his snaps, and the team may flip the edge rusher to the other side to give him a healthy outside foot.

New Orleans had the lowest offensive SIC score of the season last week, and the Bills covered easily, as we indicated. This week, that number jumps by over 20 with the return of Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Taysom Hill. However, they still miss Michael Thomas and Adam Trautman, and 60% of the offensive line starters have injury issues. Kamara should be effective when used in space, and Ingram might be the primary inside runner. Hill will debut as the starting QB coming off plantar fasciitis, which still may need a pregame pain killing injection. Defensively, right end is the issue as starter Marcus Davenport may miss and there are depth issues there as well.

Both squads are on losing streaks and need the victory. The Saints have dropped four in a row and need a win to stay in the last wild card chase. The Cowboys two game losing streak now means Washington controls their own destiny as they are two back and face Dallas twice in the next three weeks.

By health, go with Dallas tonight. The Saints are on the rise but still have more injuries, although they can finally muster an offense. Use the info at www.profootballdoc.com to make your best fantasy/DFS/wagering decisions.

Written by Pro Football Doc

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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