What a difference a week makes. The Cowboys were nursing a half-game lead in the NFC East just one week ago, but are now back in the cellar following Sunday's 13-10 deflating loss to Seattle. The Cowboys (4-3) will attempt to stay afloat in the division and above the .500 mark against Arizona next Sunday, hosting the Cardinals at Noon (CDT) at Texas Stadium.
The Cardinals (2-4) have won two of their last three games, but those victories have come against San Francisco and Tennessee - two teams with a combined 3-9 record. Quarterback Kurt Warner, signed to a one-year deal this off-season, was supposed to be Arizona's savior at quarterback, but Josh McCown has stepped into the starting role well since Warner went down in Week 3 with a groin injury. McCown, who has thrown for 1,072 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions, has done well enough, in fact, to have kept a healthy Warner on the bench the last two weeks.
Texas Stadium may be a difficult destination for the Cardinals to get their first road win of the season, though. Arizona hasn't wont in Irving, Texas, since 1998, when the Cardinals beat the Cowboys, 20-7, in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
- One of the Cardinals' greatest struggles has been running the football, as starter Marcel Shipp and backup J.J. Arrington have combined for a mere 2.5-yard average and zero touchdowns on 101 carries.
- Arizona has not had such problems in its passing game, though, as Cardinals receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have already combined for 76 receptions for 1,122 yards and six touchdowns.
- As effective as the Cardinals have been at moving the ball through the air, their 2-4 record is fairly explicable: they have struggled scoring touchdowns. The Cardinals have scored eight touchdowns through six games, which is tied for the league's third-lowest amount.
- Defensive end Bertrand Berry is among the NFC's leaders in sacks with five, which represents one-third of the Cardinals' total (15) as a team.
- The Cardinals have remained committed to their running game despite lacking a tremendous amount of success on the ground this season. Arizona has run the ball on 48-percent of its offensive plays, despite averaging only 71.2 yards per game, which is the second-lowest amount in the league. Part of Arizona's problem is its absence of an explosive presence in the backfield, having recorded only one run all season of 20 yards or longer.
- Arizona's commitment to the running game has helped the team maintain an edge in the time-of-possession battle this season, holding onto the ball an average of 31:59 per game, which is sixth-best in the league. That number will be challenged against the Cowboys, who lead the league in time of possession (34:14).
- Cowboys left tackle Ethan Brooks - Spent two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2000-01), starting three games at tackle of the 14 played in the span. Brooks did not play in 2001.
- Cardinals right tackle Oliver Ross - A fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 1998, Ross appeared in two games as a rookie in his lone season with the Cowboys.
- Cardinals wide receiver Reggie Swinton - Spent two seasons with the Cowboys in 2001 and 2002, serving as the team's primary kickoff and punt returner both seasons. Swinton's best season came in 2001, when he averaged 23.7 yards on kickoff returns and 13.4 yards on punt returns, also recording two touchdowns in the return game.
- Cardinals defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast - Spent seven seasons on the Cowboys' coaching staff, first as a defensive assistant/quality control/linebackers from 1996-99. Later, Pendergast coached the nickel defensive packages (2000) and the entire secondary (2001-02).
Arizona released wide receiver Charles Lee on Tuesday. A former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Lee caught 11 passes for 152 yards this season . . . Former Cowboy returner Reggie Swinton has significantly upgraded the Cardinals' return game from last season, when the Cardinals averaged 6.7 yards on punt returns and 19.9 yards on kickoffs. Swinton has averaged 23.7 yards on kickoffs and 8 yards on punts . . . Two of Arizona's four losses have been by five or fewer points, but the other two have been by 25 and 23 points.