Cowboys' road win streak on the line at Mercedes-Benz Superdome


NEW ORLEANS -- Welcome to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where the Dallas Cowboys take on the New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys have won 10 straight road games and the Saints have lost six straight home games. Who would have thought that possible after the Saints humiliated the Cowboys, 49-17, in 2013?

With a win tonight, the Cowboys would establish the longest road regular-season win streak in franchise history and the third longest in NFL history. But more importantly they would improve to 3-1 and straighten themselves up in their early run without Tony Romo.

A loss tonight would not be crippling to the big picture, but the Cowboys do play the New England Patriots next week at AT&T Stadium and the defending Super Bowl champions are coming off a bye week.

A sort of homecoming: Lance Dunbar lived in New Orleans until his family was displaced because of Hurricane Katrina, forcing his move to Texas. He does not get back to New Orleans much but will have family in the stands.

Growing up, Dunbar studied ex-Saints running back Darren Sproles.

“He was one of my favorites,” Dunbar said. “Just his size and my size, we compare to each other. That’s why I watched him and liked him. He’s a small guy out there making plays.”

Dunbar is on a Sproles-ian start to the season with 21 catches, which is already a career high. He is on pace for what would be an NFL-record for running backs with 112 catches, not that he is worried at all about that.

“It’s a whole lot of fun just to get out there and help get out on the field and show what you can do and help your team win,” Dunbar said. “I’ve been here three years and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. It’s pretty fun and exciting.”

Favorable impression: Last week, the Cowboys faced Matt Ryan, whom they coached in last season’s Pro Bowl. This week they get another Pro Bowler they coached in Mark Ingram.

In 2011, the Cowboys considered trading back into the first round to take Ingram. Last March it was believed the Cowboys were going to make a run at Ingram as a free agent if they lost DeMarco Murray, but Ingram re-upped with the Saints before the market opened.

A broken thumb kept Ingram out of last year’s meeting with the Cowboys. In 2013, he ran for 145 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown in a New Orleans’ win. So far this season he has 127 yards on 39 carries and two touchdowns to go along with 16 catches for 152 yards.

“He’s just an excellent runner, and has a feel for the game,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s physical. He finishes runs. He’s a good receiver. He's certainly a good weapon for them coming out of the backfield.”

The ref: For the first time the Cowboys will play a game with Brad Allen as the referee. His crew was off last week but in the first two games they had just 23 accepted penalties. Here is a breakdown of Allen’s work from the Week 2 meeting between the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons.