SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Playing in the weakest division in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday as they lost their fifth straight at home. The Falcons beat them 30-14. What happened to the Saints and their star quarterback Drew Brees?

“It usually starts with defense,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “They lose their defense and they can’t stop anyone. And then they start pressing too much on offense and they can’t run the ball. We know it’s a passing league and we know it’s a quarterback league, and we know all those things. Still when you get there you have to be able to run the ball, stop the run and rush the passer. When you lose those things, your quarterback goes too. Conversely, one of the teams I think is really playing well and peaking now is the Dallas Cowboys.”

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The Cowboys claimed the NFC East title with a 42-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

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“Their offensive line has come around, they have a great running back even though he has a broken hand, and that’s given Tony Romo a lot of confidence,” Madden said. “If there’s any team that you can say can beat the Seattle Seahawks, to me it’s the Dallas Cowboys.” (6:10)

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Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 and Monday and Friday mornings at 9:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.