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(AP) -- A possible matchup between Richard Sherman and Dez Bryant will likely draw the bulk of the attention for Sunday's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

 

How Seattle's top-ranked rushing defense fares in containing NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray figures to be more important in terms of determining the outcome.

 

The Seahawks look to slow down the record-setting Murray and snap the visiting Cowboys' four-game winning streak in a showdown of teams that feature football's best rushing attacks.

 

Bryant's spectacular 37-yard catch from Tony Romo on third down in overtime last Sunday helped set up Dan Bailey's 49-yard field goal in a 20-17 victory over Houston. The play was part of a nine-reception, 85-yard effort for Bryant, who has scored once in every game of the win streak.

 

Now the fifth-year pro will face a secondary led by Sherman, who had a league-high eight interceptions a year ago but has none this season.

 

"He's a great corner, arguably the best in the league," Bryant said. "I do look forward to it, just a great battle. It's not about that. It's really about trying to get this 'W.'"

 

Bryant may be the biggest deep threat for either offense, with both similarly built around powerful running games. Seattle (3-1) is first in the league with 167.3 rushing yards per game while Dallas (4-1) is second at 160.0.

 

The Cowboys have been led by Murray, who has 670 yards and five touchdowns and is the third running back in NFL history along with Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson to gain at least 100 yards in his first five games. Brown is the only one to get there in his first six games in 1958.

 

Murray could have problems reaching that mark again since the Seahawks are limiting opponents to 62.3 rushing yards per game. That would be the fifth-best mark in league history over a full season.

 

"I think if you look at that defensive front, you see a lot of good guys that they rotate through," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "... They play a lot of run-style defense, they have an eighth guy around the line of scrimmage a lot."

 

Seattle also features a bruising back in Marshawn Lynch, who has 306 yards, and the running attack has an extra dimension in Russell Wilson.

 

Wilson was named NFC offensive player of the week after he became the second quarterback to have two regular-season games in his career with 200 or more yards passing and 100 or more yards rushing in Monday's 27-17 win at Washington. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards and two scores and ran 11 times for a career-best 122 yards and one TD.

 

"I don't think running is ever part of the game plan for me really. It just kind of happens," Wilson said. "We want to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin and those guys. If something is not there I just try to take off and get something positive and keep the drive alive."

 

Wilson leads the NFC in completion percentage at 70.3, with Romo right behind him at 69.2.

 

The Cowboys' signal-caller, partly benefiting from Murray's rushing prowess, has produced a 98.5 passer rating that is the second-best mark of his career. Romo has performed well despite being limited in practice time due to ongoing back issues.

 

It was Romo's first season as a starter when he famously mishandled a snap on a late field-goal attempt in a playoff loss at Seattle after the 2006 season. His only other visit there was a 27-7 loss two years ago in which the Seahawks held a 182-49 advantage in rushing yards - with 122 from Lynch.

 

That contest was Wilson's home debut and his first career victory. He is 19-1 in Seattle including the postseason in what is widely considered one of the league's best home-field advantages.

 

"We're certainly going to use crowd noise," Garrett said. "That's a big part of their home-field advantage up there, that's well documented."

 

The Cowboys could be prepared for the noise since Romo revealed this week that he has been forced to use a silent count at home due to the amount of visiting fans.

 

Both teams are in competitive divisions.

 

The Seahawks are tied for first with Arizona in the NFC West, with San Francisco one-half game back. Dallas is tied with Philadelphia for first in the NFC East, with New York one behind.

 

The Cowboys last won five straight in 2007.

 

"This gives us a tremendous challenge with a little bit of cushion in every way you look at it," owner Jerry Jones said. "If we can go up to Seattle and come out with a win when no one is expecting it, we can build off it."

 

Source: Hosted.Stats.com

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Anchored by Brandon Mebane Seattle has been the best in the NFL at stopping the run, allowing 62.3 yards per game & 2.6 per attempt.

 

"Brandon Mebane does not move. He’s an immovable object out there." - Richard Sherman

 

This game will show why Bobby Wagner will be the highest paid FA this offseason.

 

Max Unger game status announcement will be a rather big announcement. I think he's arguable a top 5 center in the game right now, right?

 

Same question for Romo as it is for every QB week in and week out that goes up against us. Can he manage to not turn it over, or at least no more than our offense does? Murray's been fumbling, and Wagner's been knocking balls out. Same ol game plan for us. We try to force turnovers, and ice the game as much as we can til the end.

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No upset this week boy, no upset.

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If the Chargers can do it why can't the Cowboys?

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If the Chargers can do it why can't the Cowboys?

 

Because the Chargers arent the biggest pretender in the league atm

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If the Chargers can do it why can't the Cowboys?

 

baha. Well one's clearly better than the other, and there's that whole homefield advantage thing...

 

Edit: Max Unger downgraded to doubtful. Steven Schilling's first start at center, but he's had all the first team reps all week. Good thing Dallas has a practice squad D-line and an injured Rolando McClain.

 

https://twitter.com/bcondotta/status/520696616278188032

Edited by BC

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If the Chargers can do it why can't the Cowboys?

I think this is the first time I ever negged you but you definitely deserve it for supporting the Cowboys. :yep:

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Because the Chargers arent the biggest pretender in the league atm

 

That, and the Chargers beat them in San Diego, not Seattle.

 

The Cowboys have no shot in this game.

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Hmm, for some reason I was thinking the Chargers game was @ Seattle.

 

Oh well.

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If Rolando McClain plays, Seattle wins by 10.

 

If Rolando McClain doesn't play, Seattle wins by 40.

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McClain is going to be playing hurt per Jerry Jones. Keep an eye on his health during the game though.

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Any dirty hits at his midsection or knees and Dallas fans will be going crazy.

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Guest Phailadelphia

This will be fun, but I don't know how Dallas wins. And it won't be because of the Seattle defense. The Seahawks offense might be the most underrated unit in football. It's such a complex and intricate system

Edited by Phailadelphia

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One way Dallas could win is by capitalizing on penalties Washington couldn't.

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If the Chargers can do it why can't the Cowboys?

 

They can.

 

But it's not highly likely. I detailed how defensively Seattle could allow Rivers to dominate the game, and that's exactly what we did. We arrogantly didn't deviate from our base scheme until Rivers had already done his damage and had established a rhythm. SD outlasted us most definitely.

 

Our run defense is incredibly good. Dallas has played some very poor defenses, and in particular some bad LBs who made serious gap errors allowing Murray open running lanes. Seattle's defense is extremely consistent in it's gap responsibility. The run defense is no joke and Seattle is likely to remind us yet again that a great defensive matchup trumps offensive potency regularly. Particularly when that offensive strength is built against a lengthy list of dubious opponents.

 

This run D is about as good as our pass D was last year. They are light years ahead of where they were last season. And that's been due mainly to organic improvement with Wright, Wagner and Irvin. Irvin at SLB has been somewhat of a revelation recently. So much so that we've basically relegated Malcolm Smith to the bench. And Smith is an impact playmaker. Our LBs are much better than they were last season. To the point where I'd put them up against SF's LB crew even at full health.

 

We've played pretty much the top 3 QBs in the league, and that's bloated our pass D numbers. But at home, against Rodgers and Manning we've pretty much shut either of those players down. Romo should allow us to ascend to our expected mean in the passing D regard.

 

Seattle is very well equipped to turn Dallas into a one dimensional team. And regardless of Bryant's anticipated production, Romo and Bryant are not going to come close to outproducing this offense.

 

In the end, every forum and every TV analyst has come on and talked about Dallas' offense (rushing in particular) and our rushing D. But when we flip the field, you are still left with the NFL's #1 rushing team (Seattle) against a defense that is a shade under average. And I doubt any Cowboys fan trusts their secondary against any passing attack.

 

This is matchup that heavily favors Seattle. Regardless of venue. Seattle is a whole team. Good across the board. Expect Dallas to have a significant liability in field position virtually the entire game.

 

The key will be turnovers. And while I've seen it mentioned that we are middle of the pack in terms of turnover differential, Seattle has simply been unlucky in terms of the bounce of the ball. We've forced several fumbles thus far, and only recovered one. The law of averages -- and not facing some of the best QBs in the game -- should even out at some point. Murray and Romo are kind of notoriously generous in that regard.

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Damn BC, when did the Seahawks sign you?!

BC IS the 12th man. :yep:

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Dallas is going to shock the world.

 

:Cowboys: 24

:Seahawks: 23

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Guest Phailadelphia

 

They can.

 

But it's not highly likely. I detailed how defensively Seattle could allow Rivers to dominate the game, and that's exactly what we did. We arrogantly didn't deviate from our base scheme until Rivers had already done his damage and had established a rhythm. SD outlasted us most definitely.

 

Our run defense is incredibly good. Dallas has played some very poor defenses, and in particular some bad LBs who made serious gap errors allowing Murray open running lanes. Seattle's defense is extremely consistent in it's gap responsibility. The run defense is no joke and Seattle is likely to remind us yet again that a great defensive matchup trumps offensive potency regularly. Particularly when that offensive strength is built against a lengthy list of dubious opponents.

 

This run D is about as good as our pass D was last year. They are light years ahead of where they were last season. And that's been due mainly to organic improvement with Wright, Wagner and Irvin. Irvin at SLB has been somewhat of a revelation recently. So much so that we've basically relegated Malcolm Smith to the bench. And Smith is an impact playmaker. Our LBs are much better than they were last season. To the point where I'd put them up against SF's LB crew even at full health.

 

We've played pretty much the top 3 QBs in the league, and that's bloated our pass D numbers. But at home, against Rodgers and Manning we've pretty much shut either of those players down. Romo should allow us to ascend to our expected mean in the passing D regard.

 

Seattle is very well equipped to turn Dallas into a one dimensional team. And regardless of Bryant's anticipated production, Romo and Bryant are not going to come close to outproducing this offense.

 

In the end, every forum and every TV analyst has come on and talked about Dallas' offense (rushing in particular) and our rushing D. But when we flip the field, you are still left with the NFL's #1 rushing team (Seattle) against a defense that is a shade under average. And I doubt any Cowboys fan trusts their secondary against any passing attack.

 

This is matchup that heavily favors Seattle. Regardless of venue. Seattle is a whole team. Good across the board. Expect Dallas to have a significant liability in field position virtually the entire game.

 

The key will be turnovers. And while I've seen it mentioned that we are middle of the pack in terms of turnover differential, Seattle has simply been unlucky in terms of the bounce of the ball. We've forced several fumbles thus far, and only recovered one. The law of averages -- and not facing some of the best QBs in the game -- should even out at some point. Murray and Romo are kind of notoriously generous in that regard.

 

None of the teams Seattle has faced this year runs an offense like the Cowboys. They Dallas offense will be much more difficult to stop than you think.

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I expect us to beat the Cowboys since we are at home but it will be a close game probably by a field goal.

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As hard as it is for me to say this, I think the Cowboys could do it. I think the way their offense is tailored and playing right now, they have a chance. However, I think the main issue would be the Cowboys defense vs the Seahawks offense. I think they will have to make some plays on defense to win this game to slow down the Hawks offense. With that said though, I'm still picking the Seahawks but my gut tells me this is a winnable game for the Cowboys.

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I'm feeling a big Dallas win, actually. It's what the Cowboys do. They'll win a huge game, then turn around and lose to a crap team. Okay, enough of my dumb logic. Seattle hasn't seen an offense this potent since...Denver? Okay but we all know Peyton Manning sucks. And Tony Romo doesn't? I can't do this anymore.

 

:Cowboys: 27

:Seahawks: 24

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Love it. Every other game thread has like 3 replies. This one over 20. Show em Dallas

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Guest Phailadelphia

Report out this morning that the Cowboys believe Richard Sherman is overrated. Nice.

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