By Dave Thomas

Score a win this Sunday in Dallas against the struggling Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks are right back in the thick of things in the NFC playoff race. Heading into this weekend’s contest at 3-4, the Seahawks can even their record at .500, a move that would allow them to go into three straight home contests starting Nov. 15 versus NFC West Division leader Arizona. Should the Seahawks lose to Dallas (2-4), it could once again bring into question their ability to reach and win a third consecutive NFC Championship come January.

So, what are some keys for Seattle as it heads to Big ‘D’ this weekend? For starters, Dallas is dealing with multiple problems (mostly injuries) on both sides of the ball (notably the offensive side). With journeyman Matt Cassel filling in for an injured Tony Romo (rehabbing a broken collarbone), the Seattle defense should be able to get plenty of pressure on the 11-year veteran, a quarterback who isn’t exactly known for stellar running skills. Throw in the fact that Dallas’ running game is not exactly something to brag about since the off-season departure of DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia, along with the fact that star wide receiver Dez Bryant (rehabbing broken foot) may or may not play on Sunday, and the Seahawks could thrive on defense.

On the offensive side of the ball, Seattle played one of its more solid games a week ago this past Thursday night in dismantling rival San Francisco on the road 20-3. Running back Marshawn Lynch went over the 100-yard mark in the game, while quarterback Russell Wilson pretty much did whatever he wanted to against a soft Niners’ defense.

Time To Take Advantage Of The Schedule

If Seattle can come out of Texas with a victory, things set up nicely for the rest of November. After a bye week, Seattle plays host to division foe Arizona, then gets consecutive home dates with San Francisco (Nov. 22) and Pittsburgh (Nov. 29). With a 2-1 record at home so far this season, the Seahawks could do themselves a big favor in November by reeling off three straight victories in the Pacific Northwest, setting themselves up for a December slate that features road dates at Minnesota, Baltimore and Arizona, along with visits from Cleveland and St. Louis.

Before getting to those games, Seattle will look to handle business in the Lone Star State on Sunday. While the Seahawks do have some injury issues, it appears once again that Lynch (82 carries, 304 yards rushing) will be ready to go, a detail made even more important by the fact that backup running back and yardage leader Thomas Rawls (65 carries, 366 yards rushing) is battling a calf injury.

Probable:

Marcus Burley, defensive back (hand)
Derrick Coleman, fullback (concussion)
Demarcus Dobbs, defensive end (shoulder)
Jordan Hill, defensive tackle (quadriceps)
Patrick Lewis, center (ankle)
Marshawn Lynch, running back (hamstring)
Nick Moody, linebacker (ankle)

Questionable:

Cliff Avril, defensive end (ankle)
Michael Bennett, defensive end (non-injury related)
Russell Okung, tackle (toe)
Thomas Rawls, running back (calf)

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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