Boys Favored Big
Dallas, TX - With Tony Romo returning to form and getting in sync with Terrell Owens, the Dallas Cowboys appear to be putting their mid-season slump long behind them.
Romo and Owens look to lead the Cowboys to their third straight victory and boost their playoff hopes when they host the stumbling Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Cowboys –12.5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Thursday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 79% of bets for this game have been placed on Cowboys –12.5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Dallas (7-4) got off to a strong start with impressive wins in its first three games, but then things went wrong. The Cowboys dropped four of their next six, and Romo broke the pinkie finger on his throwing hand in an overtime loss to Arizona on Oct. 12. Dallas went 1-2 in his absence.
The Cowboys appeared to be falling apart, but Romo returned on Nov. 16, and threw a 25-yard TD pass to rookie Martellus Bennett with 10 1/2 minutes left in a 14-10 win over Washington.
Romo still looked tentative against the Redskins - throwing for 198 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions - but once again resembled a Pro Bowl quarterback in Sunday's 35-22 win over San Francisco.
The quarterback completed 23-of-39 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns and was finally able to get Owens involved in the offense.
Owens had seven catches for 213 yards and one score after he had five straight games of 38 yards or less - a stretch that included three games without Romo.
"They unleashed me today," Owens said.
Romo and Owens hope to build off Sunday's performance against a Seahawks' defense that is second-worst in the league against the pass (259.2 yards per game).
Romo has worn a splint protecting the broken pinkie the last two games, and he'll likely need to wear it again Thursday.
"It's getting a lot better. ... I feel like I could probably get to a point where (I could be) playing without the splint this week," said Romo, who is tied for third in the NFC with 18 touchdown passes. "I don't know if the trainers and doctors are going to let me, but I'm getting pretty close.
"I can definitely put (the ball) where I want to on the field. It's just a matter of, with the splint on, every once in a blue moon, it'll pop up and affect the throw a little bit. But other than that, it's been good."
Dallas is tied with Washington for second place in the NFC East as part of a crowded field of teams contending for wild-card spots.
Romo is 9-3 as a starter at Texas Stadium, and has led the Cowboys to victories in their last two Thanksgiving Day games. Dallas has won those games by an average of 29.5 points with the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback throwing for 501 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
While Romo has had success playing in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving, he would probably like to forget about the last time he faced the Seahawks (2-9).
In a 2006 wild-card game in Seattle, Romo bobbled a snap on a 19-yard field-goal attempt with 1:19 remaining. He then tried to scramble, but was tackled on the 2-yard line - a yard short of a first down - and the Cowboys lost 21-20.
In the last regular season meeting between these two teams on Oct. 23, 2005, the Seahawks won 13-10.
While Romo has helped revive the Cowboys' season, Matt Hasselbeck has been unable to do the same for Seattle.
Hasselbeck missed five games with back and nerve problems, and has looked shaky in his two games back. After going 17-of-29 for 170 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in Seattle's 26-20 loss to Arizona on Nov. 16, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback completed 12-of-24 passes for 103 yards, two TDs and two picks in Sunday's 20-17 loss to Washington.
The Seahawks, who are 31st in the league in total offense (263.9 ypg), have gained just 424 total yards in the two games with Hasselbeck. The four-time defending NFC West champions are off to their worst start since the 1992 team went 2-14, and are in the midst of their first four-game skid since losing five in a row Oct. 2-29, 2000.
"To be honest, I can't wait to play another football game, because (Sunday) was not my best effort," Hasselbeck said. "I'm not playing up to the level that I am capable of. I've got to fix it quick."
Hasselbeck will be handing off to former Cowboy Julius Jones, who will get the start Thursday four days after being benched.
Maurice Morris rushed for a season-high 103 yards on just 14 carries against the Redskins, but Seattle coach Mike Holmgren says he expects Jones to be motivated to play against his former team.
Jones, who was dumped by Dallas last season before he became a free agent, had only two carries for 21 yards last week. He has rushed for 325 yards and no scores on 80 attempts in his last eight games after running for 312 yards and two touchdowns on 61 carries in his first three with his new team.
He'll likely have a tough time finding running room on Thursday, though, as the Cowboys limited the 49ers to just 26 rushing yards on 15 attempts last week, and are 10th in the league versus the run (98.4 ypg).
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
DALLAS is 4-2 against the spread versus SEATTLE since 1992
SEATTLE is 4-3 straight up against DALLAS since 1992
5 of 7 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
DALLAS is 0-0 against the spread versus SEATTLE over the last 3 seasons
SEATTLE is 1-0 straight up against DALLAS over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at DALLAS since 1992
DALLAS is 2-1 against the spread versus SEATTLE since 1992
DALLAS is 2-1 straight up against SEATTLE since 1992
2 of 3 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[LB] David Hawthorne missed last game, "?" - Calf - 11/16/08
[DT] Red Bryant injured last game, downgraded to likely to miss several weeks. - Ankle - 11/06/08
[LB] Wesley Mallard IR. - Knee - 08/06/08
[S] C.J. Wallace missed last game, "?" - Calf - 11/16/08
[RG] Rob Sims IR - Pectoral - 09/09/08
[WR] Logan Payne IR - Knee - 09/15/08
[FB] Leonard Weaver is upgraded to probable - Ribs - 11/18/08
[DB] Marcus Trufant is upgraded to probable - Concussion - 11/18/08
[OG] Mike Wahle injured last game, "?" - Shoulder - 11/17/08
[WR] Ben Obomanu IR - Shoulder - 08/31/08
[WR] Nate Burleson IR - Knee - 09/08/08
[DE] Patrick Kerney is out indefinitely. - Shoulder - 10/29/08
[P] Mat McBriar IR - Foot - 10/13/08
[S] Roy L Williams IR - Forearm - 10/19/08
[WR] Sam Hurd IR - Ankle - 10/16/08
[CB] Adam Jones has been suspended indefinitely by NFL - Suspension - 10/14/08
[RB] Felix Jones missed last game %27?%27 - Hamstring - 11/16/08
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Posted: 11/25/08 1:10PM ET