--Former Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, is sidelined with a broken left shoulder blade he suffered against Dallas on Oct. 5. Smith has 192 rushing yards on 65 attempts (2.9 yards per carry), one touchdown and a long run of 22 yards for Arizona. Smith has six catches for 27 yards. Cowboys running back Troy Hambrick has 577 rushing yards on 171 carries (3.4 yards per carry), five touchdowns and a long run of 31 yards. He has 10 catches for 70 yards.
--When the Cowboys play the Patriots on Sunday, it will be the fourth time they've faced an opponent coming off a bye. The Cowboys survived outings against the two-week prepared Lions, Redskins and Bills. They hope to do the same against the Patriots, who not only get an extra week to dissect the Cowboys' game plan but also come in fresh physically. "Having two weeks to prepare is certainly an advantage," coach Bill Parcells said. "I know I would view it that way myself even if it's just to get your team feeling good physically."
--No team has allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than the three given up by the Cowboys this season. Denver and Carolina have each allowed four rushing touchdowns.
--Opposing quarterbacks have a 64.2 rating against the Cowboys, which is the best Dallas has done since 1994 when quarterbacks had a rating of 64. The lowest allowed in team history was 48 in 1977.
--Dallas already playoff bound at 7-2? Maybe so.
Not only do they lead the NFC East over Philadelphia (6-3) by one game.
Not only are the Cowboys tied with Carolina (7-2) for the best record in the NFC.
But the Cowboys are one of only six teams in the NFC with a winning record.
St. Louis, Minnesota, Seattle and Carolina are all 6-3.
There are six teams with 4-5 records: the Giants, Washington, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, New Orleans and San Francisco, giving the Cowboys a three-game lead for the final wildcard spot with seven games to go.
If the Cowboys only go 3-4 over the final seven games, meaning they would finish 10-6 and match their most victories since 1986.
One of those 4-5 teams would have to finish 6-1 to match their 10-6 record.
BY THE NUMBERS
6 -- Quincy Carter, with a 7-2 record as a starter in 2003, is only the sixth Cowboys quarterback in franchise history to lead his team to at least seven victories in a season. He joins Troy Aikman, Don Meredith, Craig Morton, Roger Staubach and Danny White. Carter's career record as a starter is 13-11. Only those same five quarterbacks have more career wins. Aikman leads with 94 victories, followed by Staubach (85), White (62), Meredith (45) and Morton (32). Carter's .542 win percentage ranks sixth among Cowboys quarterbacks who started at least 10 games. Staubach leads at .746, followed by Morton (.691), White (.674), Meredith (.595) and Aikman (.570).
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think our confidence is growing in some respects. We are right in the middle of this. We are really in a tough part of our season. We have been here. The opponents don't get any easier. Certainly, it looks like the next two or three are some of the top teams in the league at least so far. We are going to have to be at our best." -- Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
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