When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PST, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Record: 3-4 after Sunday night’s 34-7 loss to the Eagles
Where they rank: No. 8 on offense (tied for 15th rushing, 7th passing); No. 9 on defense (4th rushing, 16th passing)
Series: Cowboys lead 8-4 including victories in the past two meetings, both in Texas – 38-17 on Nov. 1, 2009, and 34-9 on Nov. 27, 2008
Star power: DeMarcus Ware. As is rhymes with “everywhere.” As in that’s where the Cowboys’ weakside linebacker has been making plays this season. He has 12 sacks, to rank second in the league; and 31 tackles, to rank fourth on the team. His line from the loss to the Eagles was off the charts: 11 tackles, four sacks, four other QB hits, a forced fumble. “I thought it was as amazing performance,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “It’s really almost what you come to expect from the guy.” The five-time Pro Bowl ’backer is no stranger to the Seahawks. In the 2008 game at Texas Stadium, Ware beat Walter Jones for two sacks of his three sacks in what would be the final game of his career for the Seahawks’ Hall of Fame left tackle. Ware also had a sack among his eight tackles in the 2009 game.
Unsung hero: DeMarco Murray. He not only stepped in when Felix Jones went down with a high sprain of his left ankle, Murray ran roughshod through the St. Louis Rams’ No. 32-ranked run defense and the Cowboys’ record book for 253 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown. Murray only got eight carries against the Eagles, but made the most of them by averaging 9.3 yards to finish with 74. Garrett stops short of saying that Murray has supplanted Jones as the team’s feature back, but until someone finds a way to stop Murray – and Jones gets healthy – that is indeed the case.
On the spot: The Cowboys’ defense. They entered the Eagles game ranked seventh overall and No. 1 against the run. The Eagles then put up 34 points and 495 yards, including 185 rushing yards and two TDs by LeSean McCoy. The finger-pointing in Big D has been plentiful, starting with coordinator Rob Ryan. This week, the Cowboys draw a Seahawks running game that is averaging 77.7 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. But they’ll be playing without cornerback Mike Jenkins, who injured a hamstring in the third quarter against the Eagles; and if linebacker and leading tackler Sean Lee plays it will be with a protective devise on the wrist he dislocated last week.
Burning question: Which Cowboys team shows up? The one that handed the 49ers their only loss of the season, and in San Francisco? Or, the one that got waxed by the Eagles last week? How inconsistent have the Cowboys been? They are below .500 for the third time this season.
Numbers to know: 4 and 1. The Cowboys are one of only four teams in the league to rank among the Top 10 in total offense and defense, but they are the only one with a losing record. The others: Steelers (6-2), No. 9 on offense and No. 2 on defense; Texans (5-3), No. 7 on offense and No. 3 on defense; Chargers (4-3), No. 6 on offense and defense.
Familiar faces: Backup QB Jon Kitna played for the Seahawks, starting 33 games from 1997-2000. He also played at Central Washington University and Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. Offensive line coach/running game coordinator Hudson Houck coached for the Seahawks in 1992. Secondary coach Dave Campo coached at Washington State in 1976. West Coast scout Sam Garza was the Seahawks’ eight-round draft choice in 1987. Pro scouting assistant Alex Loomis grew up in the Seattle area while his father, Mickey, worked in the Seahawks front office from 1983-1998.
The last word: “You never think something like this is going to happen. This is one of those games that just got out of hand and you felt like you couldn’t do anything about it.” – Jenkins after the loss to the Eagles
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