Saints morning report: prime-time nemesis

The New Orleans Saints have been downright dominant at home in prime-time home games over the past five years. They’ve won 11 consecutive night games inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, including the playoffs, and 14 of their last 15 dating back to 2008.

The only loss? The last time the Dallas Cowboys came to town on a Saturday night football game in Week 15 of the 2009 season. The Cowboys won 24-17, ruining the Saints’ chance at a perfect season after a 13-1 start.

The Saints did bounce back from that loss, going on to win the Super Bowl that year. But they’d still rather avoid a repeat when the Cowboys come back to the Dome for this Sunday night’s prime time game on NBC.

Here’s the list of the Saints’ last 15 home night games:

Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 – Saints 38, Miami Dolphins 17

Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 – Saints 28, Philadelphia Eagles 13

Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 – Saints 31, San Diego Chargers 24

(playoffs) Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 – Saints 45, Detroit Lions 28

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011 – Saints 45, Atlanta Falcons 16

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – Saints 31, Detroit Lions 17

Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 – Saints 49, New York Giants 24

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 – Saints 62, Indianapolis Colts 7

Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 – Saints 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 – Saints 14, Minnesota Vikings 9

(NFC championship game) Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 – Saints 31, Minnesota Vikings 28, OT

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009 – Dallas Cowboys 24, Saints 17

Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 – Saints 38, New England Patriots 17

Monday, Nov. 2, 2009 – Saints 35, Atlanta Falcons 27

Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 – Saints 51, Green Bay Packers 29

Looking back, forward: In case you missed it on a busy news day around Saints camp, each of ESPN.com’s NFL Nation reporters broke down our teams with midseason report cards. Here’s a look at the NFC South reports.

Also, we took a look into the future at possible 2014 draft needs, with insight from ESPN draft expert Todd McShay on who might fit the bill. I went with cornerback for the Saints, since you can never have enough of them in today’s NFL, and the Saints will eventually need to replace veteran Jabari Greer. Another pass rushing outside linebacker or an offensive lineman would also be worthy choices.

Scouting the Cowboys: Make sure to check out ESPN.com’s Dallas Cowboys page throughout this week for a view from the other side of Sunday’s matchup. Cowboys reporter Todd Archer had some good stuff on the relationship between Saints coach Sean Payton and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, as well as a look back on Dallas’ decision to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, among other compelling topics in recent days.

Brees slipping: Saints quarterback Drew Brees fell from No. 2 to No. 3 in Dan Graziano’s MVP Watch for ESPN.com. That’s because Brees couldn’t pull off a late rally against the New York Jets, while Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts did pull one off against the Houston Texans.

Worth repeating: Payton has bragged in the past about being a better quarterback at Eastern Illinois than fellow alum Romo was. But the Saints’ coach admitted Wednesday that current EIU quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is passing them both up.

“They’ve got a really good quarterback who is a senior coming out that shattered every one of the records we had left. We rank two and three, and that’s arguable as far as who’s two and who’s three.”

Worth re-tweeting: “Much love, respect, appreciation and admiration for @JonVilma51. One of the great all-time teammates. Few work harder. A true champion.” – former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita (@sfujita55) after the news that Vilma was placed on season-ending injured reserve.