Three keys to Seahawks victory 1. Contain DeMarco Murray. The Seahawks are allowing a league-low 3. 2 yards per carry this season, but Murray...
Three keys to Seahawks victory
1. Contain DeMarco Murray. The Seahawks are allowing a league-low 3.2 yards per carry this season, but Murray is a rookie who is just two weeks removed from a 253-yard rushing performance against St. Louis. That's the highest game total by any player in the league this season. It's the highest by a lot. Chicago's Matt Forte — who gained 205 yards against Carolina — is the only other player in the league with a 200-yard rushing performance this season.
2. Minimize mistakes. Seattle has been penalized 60 times this season, the fourth-most of any team in the league. That's an extreme departure of the Seahawks' recent history as one of the league's least-penalized teams. They were called for 79 penalties in Mike Holmgren's final season, No. 23 in the league. They had 95 in 2009 under Jim Mora, tied for 15th and that number climbed to 101 last season, which was 11th most. The Seahawks were flagged 11 times last week against Cincinnati, matching their most in any game. Four of those were pre-snap, procedural penalties for false starts.
3. Keep the back end on alert. The Cowboys have weapons from the touted Dez Bryant at wide receiver to an unknown like receiver Laurent Robinson, who had a 70-yard catch last week. Tony Romo passed for more than 300 yards in four of his first five games this season. While Eli Manning is the only opponent to pass for more than 300 yards against Seattle this season, the Seahawks have been vulnerable on the back end, giving up four completions of more than 40 yards.
Three keys to Cowboys victory
1. Try to smooth out the Romo-coaster. He's a playmaker, no doubt. Sometimes, he makes plays for the opponent, though. His three interceptions against Detroit opened the door for the Lions' comeback earlier this season. Going back to 2008, Dallas is 1-8 in games in which Romo is intercepted multiple times, which puts the onus on the quarterback to keep from steering the offense into a ditch.
2. Don't forget about Jason Witten. After all, he is only one of the league's top tight ends. He had 110 yards receiving in the season opener against the Jets. He has 111 yards receiving in his past three games combined. Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez showed what an elite tight end can do against the Seahawks in the Falcons' Week 4 victory at Seattle, and the Cowboys would be wise to study that blueprint.
3. Shore up that run defense. The Cowboys have one of the league's better defenses against the run. At least they did until last week. Dallas held five of its first six opponents to fewer than 75 yards rushing, but Philadelphia racked up 239 yards on the ground against the Cowboys last week. Seattle has been among the league's worst rushing offenses this season, but getting a foothold in the ground game will be important to keep the Cowboys thinking about something besides just rushing the passer.
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware vs. left tackle Russell Okung. Ware moves around so he's not going to be isolated against Okung all game. But Okung plays a position whose value depends on the ability to stop elite pass rushers, which is exactly what Ware is. He had four sacks last week against Philadelphia, the highest game total by any player this season. Seattle has allowed 28 sacks, most of any team in the league this season.
The Seahawks are 4-8 in their history against Dallas and 2-5 in Texas. Seattle lost in Dallas twice in the previous three seasons by a combined score of 72-26. The Seahawks' victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 2 ended Seattle's six-game losing streak to teams from the NFC East.
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