Dallas Cowboys: Zach Miller

W2W4: Cowboys at Seahawks

September, 16, 2012
SEATTLE -- The Cowboys make their second road trip of the season, taking on the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. It's the Cowboys' first appearance here since 2007 when they lost an NFC wild-card game to the Seahawks.

We all know what happened in that game.

Let's preview the Week 2 game.

The series: Dallas leads the all-time series, 9-5, and has won three straight and four of the last six. Out of 14 games, four were decided by a touchdown or less and six of the games were decided by three or more touchdowns. Dallas is 3-3 at Seattle. If the Cowboys win the game, it would given them their 450th win all time, becoming the 13th team in league history with that amount.

Tony Romo's return: Romo has done a lot in his career -- two division titles, a playoff win, three Pro Bowls -- but it's the fumbled snap in the NFC wild-card game on Jan. 6, 2007, that is near the top of his resume. Romo fumbled a snap on a potential game-winning field goal and it led to a 21-20 loss. It was one of the more painful losses in Cowboys' history and in some ways has defined Romo's career despite the success he's had as an individual. Sunday afternoon he gets a chance at revenge.

Lineup changes: The Cowboys will start their second different center of the season with Ryan Cook getting the call over Phil Costa (back). Nose tackle Jay Ratliff will miss his second consecutive game as he's still recovering from a high-ankle sprain. Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore will take over for Ratliff. Brent started the Week 1 game for Ratliff. Mike Jenkins will make his season debut at cornerback. He's not expected to start, but Jenkins should see playing time on special teams and on the dime package. Jenkins' return to the field could mean fewer snaps for Morris Claiborne on defense. However, Claiborne might get to return kicks in place of Felix Jones. Coach Jason Garrett said he didn't anticipate a chance on kick returns. But we'll see.

Stop the run: Both teams have strong running backs in Marshawn Lynch of Seattle and DeMarco Murray of Dallas. Last week, Murray rushed for 131 yards on 20 carries in the victory over the New York Giants. Murray didn't have plenty of running lanes, but was able to burst through for some gritty runs. The Seahawks have a stout run defense. Seattle held Arizona to 43 rushing yards and stopped lead running back Beanie Wells to just 14 yards on seven carries in Week 1.

Rookie starts at quarterback: Seattle starts a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. He was one of five rookie quarterbacks to make their debuts in Week 1. Wilson was sacked three times, threw for 153 yards and completed 18 of 34 passes. Third down hurt Seattle in its season opening loss to Arizona. The Seahawks went 5-of-16 on third down.

Injury report: The Cowboys had 13 players on their injury report and only Matt Johnson (hamstring), Ratliff and Costa are out. Seattle has 10 players on its report, including three receivers, but coach Pete Carroll said this week Golden Tate and Sidney Rice will play despite knee issues. Wide receiver Charly Martin (chest) is out. Lynch was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a back problem, but was a full participant Thursday and Friday. Tight end Zach Miller (foot) and Russell Okung (knee) are questionable. However, Okung was a full participant Friday.

Picks: Our experts all picked Dallas to win. What a shocker.

Raiders-Cowboys key matchups

November, 26, 2009
We’ll look at one matchup on both sides of the ball:

Raiders DE Richard Seymour vs. Cowboys LT Flozell Adams: Inexperienced replacement RT Doug Free will need help against ex-Cowboy Greg Ellis on passing plays. That means Adams will usually be left alone against Seymour.

The Seymour, who has four sacks this season, isn’t the kind of speedy edge rusher that tends to give Adams trouble. At 6-6, 310 pounds, Seymour relies more on power. That plays to the 6-7, 338-pound Adams’ strengths.

The importance of Adams’ job is increased with Tony Romo fighting lower back pain. The Cowboys can’t afford to have Seymour or any other Raider getting clean shots from Romo’s blind side.

Cowboys SS Gerald Sensabaugh and nickel LB Bobby Carpenter vs. Oakland TE Zach Miller: The Raiders’ receivers are speedy, but they certainly won’t scare the Cowboys’ secondary. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins have combined to catch only 30 of the 111 passes thrown their way this season.

Miller is by far the Raiders’ most efficient receiving threat. He leads Oakland with 34 catches (on 54 targets) for 495 yards and two touchdowns. Shut down the 6-5, 255-pound Miller and the Oakland aerial attack goes kaput.

The Cowboys have allowed five touchdown passes to tight ends this season, but they’ve done a much better job covering tight ends than in the recent past. That’s primarily because Sensabaugh is so much better in coverage than Roy Williams and the other strong safeties the Cowboys used last season. Carpenter has also been effective in coverage in his first season as the nickel linebacker.

The Cowboys can afford to make Miller the focus of their coverage schemes. That’s what they did with Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, holding the future Hall of Famer to 37 yards on four catches.