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AP likes Cowboys despite all the distractions

The Associated Press

Yes, it’s been a strange year on the field, with visiting teams 90-87-1, not counting two neutral-site games in London. And this week’s betting lines are further proof home field isn’t necessarily an advantage.

Take a look, and you will find eight visitors as favorites, including Thursday night’s matchup in the Big Easy.

Which won’t be easy for either side.

The Cowboys, losers of three of the past four, have COVID-19 issues that will sideline coach Mike McCarthy among others. They also have slumped recently, though life in the NFC East has allowed them some leeway.

The focus for the Saints likely will be at quarterback. Since Jameis Winston’s season ended on Oct. 31, they’ve been in scramble mode at the position and have dropped four straight games. Taysom Hill, the do-everything playmaker who had success (3-1) in 2020 when Drew Brees was hurt, figures to see more action now that he’s recovered from a foot problem.

“There’s nothing like playing quarterback in this league, and so certainly that requires an additional amount of energy and responsibility,” Hill says. “You have a greater ability to affect the outcome of a game.”

No. 10 Dallas is a 4¢-point favorite over No. 23 and fading New Orleans, according to FanDuel SportsBook. We like Hill’s chances of keeping it close, but … Cowboys, 23-20

Hurts says he’s ready

PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts had no energy Wednesday for any drama regarding his playing status for Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the New York Jets.

“You guys know I’m dealing with something,” Hurts said about his ankle sprain. “It’s the first one you guys have known. I’m going to continue to deal with it, and go on and get ready for the next game.”

Hurts added he’s “ready to go” and said the injury won’t affect his performance.

The second-year quarterback is coming off his worst game as a pro. He threw three interceptions in a 13-7 loss to the Giants. The Eagles (5-7) had won two in a row. They are also getting a Jets team coming off a road win at Houston.

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