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Cowboys news: Zeke is back, but injuries mount on defense

Cowboys have to reshuffle a little bit on the defensive side of the ball.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Writer’s Blocks: Putting Together A Holiday Wish List For The Cowboys - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Helman puts together his wishlist for the Cowboys, and here's what tops off his list.

Rather than worry about a mid-round draft placement, why not just go for the gusto? With Ezekiel Elliott back in the lineup, the Cowboys are more than capable of beating an injury-depleted Seahawks team. By the time Week 17 gets here, we don’t even know if the Eagles will have anything to play for. It’s not hard at all to imagine the Cowboys can win their final two games to get to 10-6.

The best and worst of the Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 campaign - Michael Sisemore-Blogging The Boys
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

In 2016, Dallas had 47 explosive pass plays (meaning 20+ yards or more) to only 38 this season. Though they’re third in rushing this season, they only have 13 explosive runs this season compared to 20 a year ago. When the Cowboys have won games, their margin of victory has been good at over 16 points but when they lose, it’s by 17 or more points. They’ve struggled to find consistency on offense and we’re all aware that Ezekiel Elliott is a big part of that.

NFL instructs officials to no longer employ paper as tool during process of measuring first down - Kevin Seifert, ESPN
Days after referee Gene Steratore stirred controversy by using an index card during the Cowboys' victory over the Raiders, the NFL instructs its officials to no longer employ paper as a tool during the process of measuring a first down.

Steratore placed the card between the tip of the football and the end of the first-down marker before signaling that the Cowboys had converted a key fourth down on their game-winning drive Sunday. Steratore later told a pool reporter that he used the card only to "reaffirm" the decision he already had made, and an NFL spokesman said he violated no NFL rules by doing so.

Irving still in concussion protocol - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys host the Seattle Seahawks Sunday but here's an update on some injured stars ahead of this matchup.

Irving posted an update on his Twitter account Wednesday, writing: “Mentally I’m fine ... I’m still having headaches every day. It’s hard to put a finger on how long I’ll be out. I’m taking it day by day.”

Anthony Hitchens plans to play vs. Seahawks despite missing practices-Brandon George- SportsDay
Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens said he didn't practice again Thursday but still plans to play Sunday against Seattle.

"I'm going to test it a little more [Friday]," Hitchens said. "I moved around a little bit [Thursday] and it was fine overall. No pain at all. I haven't sprinted yet. I'll know more [Friday]."

Scout’s Eye: Questions To Answer At Left Tackle; Tough Task For Jourdan Lewis - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus looks at the two matchups he thinks will be critical agaist the Seahawks. Here's his take on Lewis.

Jourdan Lewis has gained some valuable experience since having to step on the field against the Broncos earlier in the season. This matchup with Baldwin will be unlike any he’s had this season. With Wilson’s ability to buy second and even third chances, staying with Baldwin is no easy task. Lewis is going to have to be disciplined and focused if he’s going to have success dealing with him.

Cowboys injury update: Demarcus Lawrence to miss second straight practice -Dave Halprin- Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys stud defensive end is ailing with a back injury.

The Cowboys have an injury situation along the defensive line. Stud defensive end Demarcus Lawrence will miss his second straight practice today, but the Cowboys are hopeful he feel better by the end of the week. Lawrence is dealing with a back situation. Also dealing with a back situation is reserve defensive end Benson Mayowa.

Laying out the Cowboys' playoff scenarios, where NFC South looms large - Todd Archer, ESPN
It starts with the Cowboys winning out -- and a loss by the Lions would be ideal. After that, the Cowboys' fortunes are at the mercy of the NFC South.

The Atlanta Falcons would need to lose to the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, which is entirely possible. As impressive as the Falcons were against the Cowboys in November, they were unimpressive in their victory Monday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons travel to the Superdome this week, and the Saints have won six straight at home.

Dak patterns game after Wilson - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks meet Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“Russell’s a guy I watched before I was even in this league and tried to model his game, just the way he plays it with his elusiveness, just taking care of the ball and just being smart,” the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said. “He’s a great player. I definitely watch his game and try to take things that he does.”

This was the Cowboys' biggest failure during Ezekiel Elliott's suspension - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore takes the Cowboys to task for their seeming initial inability to adapt to his absence.

"You saw it," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "I mean, we ... took it for granted, tried to run the same offense as if Zeke was in the game or on the team and he wasn't. Things were different. It wasn't the same aggressiveness, it wasn't the same tempo and what is the word I'm looking for, demeanor, I guess”

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