10 straight wins heading into week 13 had the New Orleans Saints feeling confident as they prepared to face the Dallas Cowboys in a Thursday night road contest.

The Cowboys talked trash earlier in the week, displaying a confidence of their own.

Dallas backed it up, defeating the Saints 13-10, limiting New Orleans' vaunted offense to only 176 yards.

"Tip your hat to Dallas," said New Orleans head coach Sean Payton. "I thought those guys played well tonight...deserved to win the game."

The Cowboys took the opening drive of the game deep down the field for a field goal, then held the Saints to a 3 and out offensively on the first two New Orleans possessions of the game.

Dallas' ability to own the time of possession battle (36:53 to 23:07) played a major factor in the game, and allowed the Cowboys to take a 13-0 lead into halftime.

"We didn't make enough happen on 2nd and 3rd downs in the game," explained Payton. "It was a good game by them (Dallas) though."

New Orleans was close to scoring on one 1st half possession following a Cowboys turnover, but couldn't convert on 4th and goal from the 2.

In the first possession of the 3rd quarter, the Saints offense put together their first scoring drive of the game, settling for a Will Lutz field goal.

The Saints would score their only touchdown of the game when Drew Brees tossed a 30 yard score on 3rd and 8 to Keith Kirkwood late in the 3rd quarter, making it 13-10.

The 4th quarter consisted of momentum swings, costly penalties, and several missed call by the officials .

New Orleans defense held tough, holding the Cowboys to 308 total yards, despite being on the field for the majority of the game.

They also registered 7 sacks, including 3 by David Onyemata.

Late in the 4th, Saints All-Pro defensive end Cam Jordan sacked Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. What made it more impressive was Dallas right tackle La'el Collins was called for holding on the play against Jordan.

With new life, the Saints offense had the ball at their own 15 with 2:35 left in regulation, a timeout, and an all-time great at quarterback.

It didn't last long, as Brees was pressured from the interior on the second play of the drive, attempted to throw the ball away, and was intercepted by Jourdan Lewis.

The Saints wouldn't get the ball again as a pass interference call on Marshon Lattimore allowed the Cowboys to kneel 3 time and end the game.

With the loss, the Saints (10-2) fall out of 1st place in the NFC, a half game back of the Los Angeles Rams (10-1), who have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL (measured by opponents current W/L record).

Next up, the Saints travel to Tampa Bay a week from Sunday to battle the Buccaneers (4-7), who handed New Orleans their only other defeat this season back in week 1.