Ryan's troops held firm early last season until linebacker Sean Lee's season-ending injury was the first in a line of dominoes to fall on defense.
In doing so, they also became the first defense in two and a half years to allow a 100-yard performance to 2011 draft bust Mark Ingram. Dallas' defensive futility is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that three of the top five fantasy running-back performances of Week 10 came from the Saints' backfield.
While Ryan's defense is arguably the most improved unit in the NFL, Kiffin's enters the bye week licking its wounds.
For all of their defensive woes, the Cowboys didn't hold a lead at some point in the fourth quarter for just the second time this season. They've been the most competitive team in a weak NFC East. As long as the week off heals what ails Hatcher, Lee, Ware and Wilcox, the remaining schedule is light enough for Dallas to keep pace with a revitalized Eagles team.