After a difficult defeat, the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) seek to stop their slippage against the Saints of New Orleans (5-6). Before the two teams face off in New Orleans on Thursday, here are three bold predictions for the prime-time game.

Photo by Tom Pennington / Getty Images

1) Cowboys impose two turnovers in defense

In order for the Cowboys to find their way back to victory, they need their defense to start winning football again. In the first six games of the season, the Dallas defense has won the ball 13 times, a league-high. It’s no coincidence that the Cowboys were 5-1 in that streak.

In their last five games where the Cowboys have gone 2-3, they’ve only managed to force five turnovers. In fact, two of their worst defensive performances of the season, against Denver and Las Vegas, came in games where their defense was unable to force a single turnover.

For the Cowboys’ defense to be successful, it’s pretty clear that they need to pull football off the opposing offense. Lucky for them, they should be able to do it this Thursday against the New Orleans Saints.

During their four-game losing streak, the Saints offense has really struggled to take care of football. New Orleans returned the ball six times in that four-game streak, which was one of the main reasons they couldn’t win games. This season, New Orleans is 3-0 when not returning the ball and 2-6 when it does.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, New Orleans looks at Taysom Hill leaving quarterback this week against veteran Trevor Siemian. Regardless of which quarterback starts, the Cowboys should be able to force either of those below par callers into turnovers.

The Dallas defense is back on track after a tough Thanksgiving, forcing two turnovers and setting the stage for the offense to score points on the board.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Photo by David Eulitt / Getty Images

2) Ezekiel Elliott rushes the ball less than 10 times

Two weeks ago, Ezekiel Elliott had recorded fewer than ten rushes in a game just once in his six-year NFL career. Today that number has increased to two, as Elliott has only thrown the ball nine times in each of the Cowboys’ last two games.

Luge was difficult for Elliott after a dominant start to the season. As of Week 8, Elliott has failed to register more than 51 rushing yards in a game. The 26-year-old has averaged just 3.2 Y / A over the last five games and has seen his EPA over the season drop to -1.4, according to Player profiler.

Outside of the overall struggles the Cowboys have to try and generate traction on football, Elliott has had to deal with a nagging knee injury that clearly affected his explosiveness. He’s a warrior, so he tried to dump him out, but it’s pretty clear looking at him on the pitch, he’s not close to 100%.

On 105.3 FAN this morning Jerry Jones said Elliott will see a “serious load” of shots and touches this week against New Orleans.

I don’t buy it. If the Cowboys want to get deeper into the playoffs, they’ll need a healthy Elliott down the stretch. It’s clear to anyone who would need to rest, and contrary to Jerry’s comments, they’re going to give it to him this week.

Elliott will play in the game, but he won’t be the star back. Tony Pollard will take over as RB1 and get most of the transport. It’s a game I don’t see the Cowboys running the ball up on much anyway, as New Orleans is the second highest ranked tip defense in football according to. Focus on professional footballs, but when they do, Pollard will get most of the races.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images

3) DeMarcus Lawrence announces his comeback, recording a revolutionary strip-sack

After missing 10 games with injury, the Cowboys will finally get DeMarcus Lawrence back on Thursday.

Lawrence’s return couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Cowboys are in desperate need of help rushing the passer. The 29-year-old is the undisputed leader of this defense, and he will announce his comeback on Thursday.

Lawrence will make the game of the game midway through the fourth quarter, sacking Taysom Hill and forcing a fumble, leading the Cowboys to hit in the touchdown that sealed the game.