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21
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Seattle 0 7 7 7 21
Dallas 0 9 3 0 12
12
1:25 PM PT2:25 PM MT3:25 PM CT4:25 PM ET21:25 GMT5:25 2:25 PM MST4:25 PM EST3:25 PM CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:� , December 24, 2017
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas  Attendance: 92,150

Cowboys' Elliott returns for key game with Seahawks

According to STATS
According to STATS

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

  1. In a key NFC West showdown on Sunday, the Seahawks suffered a 42-7 home defeat against the Rams, the team's largest home loss in 20 years. Seattle trailed 13-0 after one quarter and 34-0 at halftime, as Los Angeles scored on six of its seven first-half possessions. The Seahawks' 149 total yards were the franchise's second-lowest total in any game started by Russell Wilson, and the seven sacks taken by Wilson tied a career high. The Rams shredded the Seattle defense for 244 yards on the ground, with Todd Gurley II rushing for 152 yards and three TDs; Gurley also scored on a 14-yard pass from Jared Goff.
  2. The Cowboys eked out a 20-17 Sunday night win at Oakland, a game that was secured when Raiders QB Derek Carr fumbled at the Dallas' one-yard line in the final minute; the ball went out of the end zone, resulting in a touchback. The Cowboys' winning points came on Dan Bailey's 19-yard field goal with 1:44 remaining, capping a drive that featured Dak Prescott's converting a fourth-and-one -- just barely -- on a rush from his own 39-yard line. Three plays later, Prescott (212 pass yards, 32 rush yards and a rush TD) connected on a 40-yard pass to Dez Bryant to put the Cowboys in field-goal range. The game featured 205 total penalty yards -- more than 100 against each team.
  3. The Seahawks won a 13-12 squeaker in their last visit to Dallas in 2015; they had lost their previous three games there (between 2008 and 2011) by a combined 56 points. In the head-to-head matchups all-time, including postseason, Seattle is 4-3 in one-score games and 3-7 in games decided by more than one score.
  4. Russell Wilson completed only 14 of 30 passes last week; it was the first time in over two years that Wilson completed less than half of his passes in a game. Wilson has only two TD passes in three career games against the Cowboys to date (2-1 record). He needs 331 yards for a third consecutive 4000-yard season; no other Seahawks QB has ever reached that number in a season.
  5. After throwing 39 TD passes and eight interceptions in his first 25 career starts, Dak Prescott has thrown for five TDs while being picked off seven times in his last five games. Prescott has a 5-1 career record in the month of December, with eight touchdown passes, four interceptions and a 97.8 rating. Prescott's six rushing touchdowns in 2017 are tied for the most ever by a Dallas QB in a season -- tied with his own mark set last season.
  6. The loser of Sunday's game will definitely be eliminated from playoff contention, and the winner will face an uphill climb at best to reach the postseason. The Seahawks' run of five straight playoff appearances -- coinciding with the first five seasons of Russell Wilson's career -- is in jeopardy, while the Cowboys are facing a 22nd consecutive season in which they fail to reach the NFC Championship Game. Dallas had reached the conference championship game an NFL-high 14 times between 1970 and 1995.
Team Comparison

Seattle
 
Dallas
22.9 Points 24.0
261.8 Pass Yds 211.9
103.7 Rush Yds 136.6
21 Takeaways 19

The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys occupy the same basic space in the hunt for an NFC playoff berth even though they appear to be going in opposite directions.

Two weeks ago, Seattle thumped Philadelphia 24-10 to improve to 8-4. At that point, the Seahawks were on the Rams' heels for the NFC West crown and looked to have a decent chance of claiming a wild card playoff spot even if the division title didn't pan out.

Then came a tough loss at Jacksonville, 30-24, and a humbling one at home against the Rams, 42-7.

"It was just a couple of weeks ago that we played one of the best games we've ever played," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We've got to turn it and make sure that we get right and get back, ready to go to Dallas."

The Cowboys, meanwhile, have hit their stride, though possibly too late. Dallas has won three straight, giving the team the chance to continue hoping for a playoff berth as they host a Christmas Eve afternoon game against Seattle.

Just in time for Christmas, the Cowboys get running back Ezekiel Elliott back from his six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. That meant Dallas coach Jason Garrett spent the bulk of his time at the podium during mid-week press conferences answering questions about Elliott's return.

"He looks like he's in good shape," Garrett said. "He seems mentally into it, engaged and just fell right back in with his teammates in meetings and walk through."

Garrett appeared very uncomfortable in tiptoeing around questions about how Elliott will be used without downplaying the effort of backup running backs Alfred Morris and Rod Smith.

"We'll work through this week and see what (Elliott is) able to do in this game plan," Garrett said. "We'll certainly keep Alfred ready. We'll certainly keep Rod ready."

Though Garrett would not say as much, having Elliott available gets Dallas closer to full strength. Whether or not left tackle Tyron Smith will be healthy enough to play on Sunday is a question mark. Smith, who hyperextended a knee in the Cowboys' win over Oakland, was not expected to practice on Wednesday.

There is no doubt, though, that Dallas has benefitted from having linebacker Sean Lee on the field again. Lee, the team's leading tackler, missed five games with a hamstring injury and the Cowboys went 1-4 in those contests. Since Lee returned to action, Dallas has won two straight road games.

For the Cowboys to make the playoffs and take full advantage of being back to full strength, they likely need to win out and get some help elsewhere. Dallas (8-6), Seattle (8-6) and Detroit (8-6) trail Atlanta (9-5) in pursuit of the NFC's final wild card spot entering Week 16.

However, asked whether or not having Elliott back gives his team an energy boost in the playoff hunt, Garrett maintained his steady, almost robotic insistence on professional adherence to the weekly process.

"The biggest thing for us is just get back to work," Garrett said on Monday. "Come back in (Tuesday) with the players and go over the game in a very unemotional way and build on the good and clean up the bad."

Garrett might not say it, but Cowboys fans have to be excited about the prospect of turning Elliott loose on a Seahawks team that gave up 144 rushing yards to the Jaguars and 244 to the Rams.

While Garrett was conservative in his comments on Elliott's return, Carroll has an idea what's coming.

"(Elliott is) going to be all fired up and all that," Carroll said. "I'm sure that they're going to feed him. He's fresh."

But it's not just the Cowboys' running game that was worrying Carroll this week.

"They're a terrific team," the Seahawks coach said. "They have big dudes that can make the plays -- the receiver, the tight end, the running back, the quarterback. They're loaded."

And as much as Garrett stayed on message, insisting the team was sticking to its weekly process, Carroll divulged that his team sees how big the next one will be in both teams' playoff chances.

"It's just been a real sequence of great challenges one week after another and here we go again," Carroll said. "This is not easy at all. Two 8-6 teams battling for it and there's a lot at stake. Everything is on the line for both of us."

Updated December 20, 2017

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