3 Up, 3 Down: Saints keep marching while Cowboys prospects dim without star

There was plenty for teams to be happy about, and plenty for others to be disappointed in. In this unusual week of football, here’s what happened in this week’s 3 up 3 down.

3 Up

The Saints running game goes wild: More often than not, somebody can count the amount of rushing touchdowns a team could have on one hand. Not on Sunday with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints' rushing game was incredible as New Orleans ran 48 times for 298 yards and an absurd six touchdowns. The team was led by Mark Ingram, who contributed 131 yards and three of those touchdowns with powerful, physical carries. Alvin Kamara added 106 yards and a score while the third string running back, Trey Edmunds, broke a long 41-yard touchdown. Even Drew Brees scored on the ground. The Saints just won their seventh straight game and, contrary to their success in past seasons, they are winning with the running game. If their attack continues to develop like this, all bets are off on how far they can go. 

Green Bay manages to win without Aaron Rodgers: What a day for Brett Hundley, as the Green Bay backup picked up his first win as the starting quarterback for the Packers. It had been a touch October for the Pack, who lost star quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the year when he broke his collarbone. However, with strong play by Hundley, Green Bay went home from arch rival Chicago with a win. Devante Adams had a great game with a team high five receptions for 90 yards and a key fourth quarter touchdown. The key to this win was the defense being able to limit the Jordon Howard and Tarik Cohen to a mediocre running game. With no balance on the ground, the Bears were forced to have Mitch Trubisky increase his looks and workload, which was enough to hand the initiative to the Packers.

San Francisco wins its first game: San Francisco's 31-21 victory against the Giants came in Jimmy Garappolo's first game in a 49ers jersey. The weird thing was that it wasn’t Garappolo under center; it was C.J. Beathard. The Iowa rookie finished the game 19-for-25 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. It's almost as if the Garappolo trade inspired Beathard, just as some pundits in New England have claimed his presence did for Tom Brady in recent seasons.  Whether it was running or throwing, Beathard he was moving the ball on this Giants defense, who continue to struggle. With Garappolo getting more reps under the new system during San Francisco's forthcoming bye week, the 49ers might be headed in the right direction.

3 down

 The Cowboys lose after key injuries: Going in, the Cowboys were at a disadvantage without star running back Ezekiel Elliot. Then the Cowboys lost Sean Lee and Tyron Smith to injury. The porous offensive line allowed Adrian Clayborn to take advantage. sacking Dak Prescott a franchise record six times. With Prescott under constant pressure and a less than ideal running game, the Cowboys were unable to get anything going on offense and only scored a single touchdown. The Falcons, on the other hand, were able to consistently move the ball against the Dallas defense. The question now is just how long an impact the loss has on the Cowboys season

The Texans definitely miss Deshuan Watson: It’s scary how different the Houston Texans look when Watson isn’t the starting quarterback. With Tom Savage is under center, this offense is one of the worst in the league. Not only did he only complete just half of his passes Sunday, but Savage had four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions, as the Texans slumped to another loss. The defense did a great job managing to hold the Rams to just three field goals in the first half, but that was enough. As Houston drops to 3-6, it’s clear their season was over the moment Watson tore his ACL.

New York is the worst team in the NFC: It wasn't looking good for Ben McAdoo before, and then reports came out that if he lost to the 49ers he could be out of a job before the end of the season. Well, the Giants lost to the 49ers and have taken the mantle as the worst team in the NFC. The 49ers’ offense was very efficient. The Giants, meanwhile, are devoid of any bright spots whatsoever. The defense looks weak, the offensive line is sub-par, and their roster is riddled with injuries. It’s hard to think they’ll be able to turn it around this year, even to scrap out another win or two.