Seattle Seahawks

Preview of the Seahawks next opponent, the Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott returns on Sunday after missing six games for being suspended over domestic violence allegations.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott returns on Sunday after missing six games for being suspended over domestic violence allegations. AP

SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT

DALLAS COWBOYS (8-6)

1:25 p.m. Sunday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Ch. 13

Line: Cowboys by 5.

Against the Seahawks: Dallas leads the regular-season series 10-6. Seattle won the only playoff meeting on Jan. 6, 2007, when Tony Romo dropped the ball trying to hold for the game-winning field-goal attempt.

What to know: An elimination game for both teams. The loser is officially finished in the NFC’s playoff race. … The Cowboys have won three consecutive games, and now get back Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL’s 2016 rushing champion as a rookie, from a six-game league suspension. The Seahawks have allowed Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley to romp through them for 100-yard rushing days the last two weeks. … Dallas went 3-3 without Elliott (team-high 783 rushing yards), who was suspended because of a domestic-violence incident. The Cowboys scored seven, nine and six points in the losses, to the Falcons, Eagles and Chargers. They scored 38, 30 and 20 in beating the Redskins, Giants and Raiders the last three weeks. … The Raiders game could have been a loss without referee Gene Steratore pulling out an index card to measure and grant the Cowboys a first down on a fourth-down scoring drive late, or if Oakland quarterback Derek Carr hadn’t dropped the ball through the side of the end zone trying to stretch for the goal-line pylon on a scramble run with seconds remaining. … Even without Elliott’s contributions, the Cowboys are third in the NFL in rushing offense (136.6 yards per game). They are 24th in passing with second-year man Dak Prescott throwing for about 200 yards per game, with 21 TDs, 11 INTs and a 89.6 passer rating. … The Cowboys’ offensive line full of blue-chip draft choices has protected Prescott mostly well, allowing 27 sacks in 14 games. That’s the seventh-fewest sacks allowed in the NFL. … Standout left tackle Tyron Smith is iffy to play because of an injured right knee. … Dallas is 15th in total offense and 11th in scoring. … Dez Bryant’s 63 catches with six touchdowns leads Cowboys receivers. His pace of 72 catches and seven touchdowns for the season would be his lowest such totals while playing a full season in his eight-year career. … Tight end Jason Witten, 35, continues to get it done in his 15th season. He has 56 receptions, and his five touchdowns are his most since 2014. He is a reason the Cowboys are good on third downs, fifth in the NFL converting 43.4 percent. … The defense is ranked 18th overall, 12th against the run, 18th against the pass and 17th in points allowed. … Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has 13½ sacks, third-most in the league. He had nine sacks total in his first three NFL seasons. … Dallas is just plus-1 in turnover margin, 16th in the NFL. The Cowboys have fumbled only nine times this season, second-fewest in the league. They’ve lost seven of those. … The Cowboys don’t kick many field goals but when they do, Dan Bailey makes them. He’s 11 for 13.

Quotable: “I know he is going to be ready to play. It's was exciting just to see him. … He gives us extra boost.” – Bryant, to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on Elliott’s return to the team Tuesday after spending most of his six-week suspension training in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

gregg.bell@thenewstribune.com @gbellseattle

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