Looking Ahead

Romo's fumbled snap in Seattle was a dark moment in the teams' 13-game series history.

WHAT: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 6, noon (CT)
WHERE: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
SERIES: Cowboys lead series, 8-5

  • Unheralded bunch. The Seahawks won the NFC West (albeit with a 7-9 record) despite being the only team in its division without a Pro Bowl selection. No Seahawk has made the Pro Bowl since 2009, and Seattle was one of only four teams without a representative last year. Yet they pulled an all-time playoff upset against the Super Bowl champion Saints in the divisional round. * Carroll's stamp. Back in the pros after a dominant stretch at USC, Pete Carroll's enthusiasm was infectious last year. The Seahawks conducted highly competitive practices, overturned the roster and fed off critics who claimed a sub-.500 team shouldn't make the playoffs. Like the Cowboys' new head coach, Jason Garrett, Carroll's an energetic guy and an effective motivator. * Slickness in Seattle. Since the 2006 season, you can't talk Cowboys-Seahawks without revisiting "The Fumble" - Romo's botched field goal hold on an overly-slippery "K-Ball" that contributed to the Cowboys' 21-20 wild-card loss at Qwest Field that year. Romo's psyche didn't suffer - he would go on to lead the Cowboys to a franchise record-tying 13 wins in 2007 - but his detractors still point to past playoff failures. And the Seattle game might be the toughest to forget. Match-Up Worth Watching:
    Tyron Smith vs. defensive end Chris Clemons. This requires some projection, of course, but Clemons would provide a handful for the No. 9 overall pick if Smith indeed becomes the Cowboys' instant starting right tackle. An undrafted journeyman for five seasons, Clemons became a fixture in Seattle's 4-3 scheme, tallying a team- and career-high 11 sacks in 2010. Smith, of course, played for Carroll at USC. He's the first Cowboys offensive lineman taken in the first round since 1981, and the team believes he can develop into a quality left or right tackle. If Doug Free is re-signed, however, it would make sense to play Smith on the right side, where he's more experienced. Clemons would be waiting.

Seahawks' Draft Review:
Seattle made nine selections, and like the Cowboys, they clearly tried to get younger and deeper on the offensive line. The Seahawks drafted Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter in the first round and Wisconsin guard John Moffitt in the third. Six of their final seven picks were defensive players, including three defensive backs: Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman (fifth round), Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree (fifth round) and Clemson cornerback Byron Maxwell (sixth round).

Last Meeting:
On Nov. 1, 2009, the Cowboys needed a win to tie Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East. They got it rather easily, blowing out Seattle 38-17 at Cowboys Stadium to push their winning streak to three games in an eventual first-place finish. The Cowboys got an early challenge from the struggling Seahawks, who took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and trailed just 14-10 late in the second. But Tony Romo's seven-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams increased the Cowboys' halftime lead to 11 and started a 24-0 run. The Cowboys then ripped off 17 more consecutive points - two more Romo touchdowns and a Nick Folk field goal - to ensure victory by the fourth quarter.

One To Remember:
The Cowboys were smack in the middle of a third consecutive 5-11 season in 2002. Not much to remember about that year, or the Oct. 27 loss to Seattle at Texas Stadium, besides Emmitt Smith's finest moment as a professional athlete. Smith's 11-yard run in the fourth quarter surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL's all-time leading rusher. He finished the game with 109 yards on 24 carries, and because the Cowboys were about to start a two-game road trip, he badly wanted to break the record that day in Dallas. He got it.

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