KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET
TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
SERIES: 10th meeting. Dallas leads the series 6-3. Dallas's come-from-behind
win at Seattle last season marked the first time in club history that a
Dallas team scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of regulation to
win a game. Two of the nine series contests have been decided by a touchdown
or less, while six of the games have been decided by two touchdowns or more.
Dallas holds a 3-1 record when playing in Seattle, including 1-0 at Qwest
Field. This will be the third meeting between the two clubs since the
Seahawks returned to the NFC in 2002, after the two clubs met three times in
15 years between 1987-2001.
2005 RANKINGS: Cowboys: offense 6th (16th rush, 6th pass); defense 7th (8th
rush, 14th pass). Seahawks: offense 1st (2nd rush, 9th pass); defense 13th
(12th rush, 16th pass)
PREDICTION: Cowboys 34-30
KEYS TO THE GAME: Dallas already was forced to often provide extra
pass-blocking help for rookie RT Rob Petitti, and now Torrin Tucker, who
lost his starting job to Petitti, takes over for injured LT Flozell Adams.
Seattle doesn't have great pass-rushers, but the Cowboys will still look to
control the game on the ground -- with or without ailing RB Julius Jones. If
they can do that, then QB Drew Bledsoe can take shots at a Seattle secondary
minus injured FS Ken Hamlin. Dallas leads the league with a 46.6 third-down
conversion rate, and keeping the ball away from Seattle's No. 1-ranked
offense is paramount. Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander needs to keep running the
ball well to protect QB Matt Hasselbeck from the Cowboys' various looks out
of their 3-4 front. Rookie LB DeMarcus Ware had a sack, an interception and
two forced fumbles in the preseason meeting, and has four sacks in his past
FAST FACTS: Cowboys: Lead the league in average time of possession (34:14).
... Coach Bill Parcells needs one victory to tie Paul Brown (170) for
9th-most all-time. Seahawks: Alexander needs 55 rushing yards to pass Chris
Warren (6,706) for most in franchise history. ... Hasselbeck has 566 passing
yards and a 106.3 passer rating in three career games vs. Dallas.
--WR Peerless Price last returned punts when he was with the Bills in
2001, but he is ready to resume those duties with the Cowboys in place of
the injured Patrick Crayton. The Cowboys are also considering running back
Marion Barber and cornerback Terence Newman for the role but they are
counting on Price, who returned kicks in Buffalo under current Cowboys
special teams coach Bruce DeHaven. "He knows we need somebody to do it,"
Parcells said. "He's fine with it."
--RB Julius Jones (ankle) did not practice on Thursday. He remains
questionable for the Seahawks game. Jones said he would disappointed if he
couldn't play against the Seahawks. Not only because it's a return to the
site of his best game _ a 189-yard, three-touchdown performance as a rookie
last year _ but because he would be there for his team. "It sucks sitting on
the sideline watching," Jones said. "We are playing well and I want to be a
part of it. I want to play."
--LB Dat Nguyen (stinger) practiced for the second straight day. He is
listed as probable on the injury report, though it will be a game time
decision. If Nguyen does play it may be on a situational basis in the nickel
--TE Dan Campbell (groin) has practiced without a hitch this week.
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells removed him from the injury report. He was
previously listed as probable.
--LB D.D. Lewis (knee) returned to practice Thursday. He remained
questionable on the injury report.
--FB Mack Strong (shoulder) was removed from the injury report. He had
been probable. Strong practiced Thursday for a second consecutive day.
--RT Floyd Womack (quadriceps) was removed from the injury report. He had
been probable. Womack practiced Thursday for a second consecutive day.
--CB Andre Dyson (hamstring) missed practice again Thursday, as expected.
His status was considered a game-time decision. He remained questionable.
--LT Wayne Hunter (hamstring) missed practice again Thursday. He remained
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells was once one of tackle Torrin Tucker's
Now he is one of his biggest fans.
Not coincidentally, Parcells is counting on Tucker to replace injured
Flozell Adams at left tackle against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Parcells will likely give Tucker some help from a back on pass plays. But
he said the third-year veteran, who started 13 games at right tackle last
season before he was benched for poor play, has improved his conditioning,
weight and technique since the end of training camp. Tucker has played
mostly on special teams in six games this season.
"Coming into training camp, I had my questions about him. He kind of came
along," Parcells said. "Torrin was a kid, when he first came (to the
Cowboys), he was a classic example of somebody who didn't have a clue. Now
he has a much better idea."
Tucker has lost around 40 pounds to his current 315. He believes he is
better about not getting down on himself after making a mistake, which added
to his woes last season.
"I feel like I'm a better player," Tucker said. "I'm learning how to be a
football player at this level, and what it takes to maintain and be in good
graces. Staying in shape, don't be overweight, show up for workouts on time,
studying extra film. Whatever it takes to be a better player and a better
person, that's what you have to do."
Coach Mike Holmgren made headlines this week by banning his players from
the area of downtown Seattle where FS Ken Hamlin suffered serious head
injuries during a scuffle early Monday.
The ban was really more of a stern request. Coaches obviously cannot
control where there players go during their down time. But by making the
"ban" public, Holmgren reinforced the message he has tried to drive home to
players over the years.
"I did talk to the team this morning about staying away from that area
down there starting out - coaches and players," Holmgren said. "It's not
necessary to go down there and hang out down there. This wasn't an isolated
incident down in that neck of the woods.
"I probably didn't even have to say that. I think they probably would
have handled that anyway. Now we are taking the next step of saying, 'OK,
you can't go down there anymore.' "
Much gets written about what coaches and organizations can do help
players make the right choices off the field. But the choices still come
down to the players.
"Everything is a choice," RB Shaun Alexander said. "Sometimes you are
caught in a situation that you never want to be in, but it happens in many
different ways. We learn as a team together. We've been doing it for years
now and we'll learn from this."
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