Demarcus Lawrence

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Seahawks beat Cowboys 21-12 in playoff elimination game

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Russell Wilson didn’t have to do much to keep alive Seattle’s hopes for a sixth straight trip to the playoffs, despite the return of star Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension.

Justin Coleman put the Seahawks in front for good with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown , and Seattle beat the Cowboys 21-12 in a playoff elimination game Sunday.

Dak Prescott threw two interceptions and the Dallas offense didn’t score a touchdown despite the reunion with his backfield mate, the one he shared a remarkable rookie season with a year ago when Cowboys had an NFC-best 13 wins.

Now Dallas (8-7) is eliminated from the postseason with the end of its three-game winning streak, and the Seahawks (9-6) still have life after Wilson threw for two touchdowns despite a career-low 93 yards passing.

“In these situations where it truly is a must-win game, we don’t have to make anything up,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We’re well-prepared for it. The process that we’ve gone through the whole season really helped us today.”

Coleman gave Seattle a 14-9 lead in the third quarter when he reached down to catch Prescott’s badly overthrown pass to Elliott and ran untouched 30 yards for a touchdown.

It was the fourth pick-six of the season for Prescott, who threw just four interceptions last season when he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has 13 interceptions for the season.

The Seahawks were eliminated in the NFC West race by the Los Angeles Rams’ 27-23 win at Tennessee. But they can still make the postseason with some help despite gaining just 136 total yards – their fewest since getting 135 in a 14-9 win over the St. Louis Rams in 2013.

Seattle’s first two offensive touchdowns were set up by pass interference penalties in the end zone. The first was a 3-yarder to Jimmy Graham, the second a 6-yarder to Baldwin after running plays backed up the Seahawks both times.

The Cowboys, who lost their first three without Elliott before the winning streak, didn’t take it easy on last year’s NFL rushing leader after his six-week layoff, giving him 15 carries for 73 yards in the first half.

The longest carry was a 9-yarder as he averaged 4.7 per carry. Elliott, who was suspended on domestic violence allegations, finished with 97 yards on 24 carries.

But Dallas didn’t give Elliott the ball with a first down at the Seattle 3 when trailing by nine points midway through the fourth quarter. After a Prescott run, a holding penalty on a pass play and the third sack of Prescott, Dan Bailey missed a 34-yarder.

Bailey, who had two 51-yarders among his four kicks, missed again in the closing seconds.

“It’s hard to get over,” said Prescott, who was 21 of 34 for 182 yards. “I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point. But right now’s not the time. Didn’t play well enough for us to win. Simple as that.”

Dallas receiver Dez Bryant dropped the first pass of the game and was caught on camera on the sideline yelling at former Cowboys receiver Miles Austin, now a staff member. Soon after, he fumbled after making a catch , setting up Wilson’s scoring toss to Graham.

Wilson saved that scoring chance by recovering a fumble on a bad handoff on the previous play.

“I didn’t have time to sense anything,” Wilson said. “The year on the line right there, with the ball on the ground. Whoever takes it, so I just leaped to get that ball.”

Bryant had another ball go off his hands on a throw behind him, and the tipped ball was intercepted by K.J. Wright to wipe out one of several promising Dallas scoring chances.

“I’m a little numb because the way we started, the good feeling, the uptick we had with Zeke coming back,” owner Jerry Jones said. “All of that, I thought that would rule the day today.”

MIMICKING ZEKE

Coleman repeated an Elliott antic from last season, when the Dallas running back jumped into a jumbo Salvation Army red kettle after a touchdown on Thanksgiving. Coleman got the same penalty, too – a 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct.

WAY BACK

The Seahawks had 2 yards passing at halftime thanks in part to DeMarcus Lawrence‘s 22-yard sack of Wilson in the first half. Lawrence overpowered Germain Ifedi, forced Wilson to backtrack after he tried scrambling to his right and tackled Wilson as he tried to run away from him at the Seattle 8.

GRAHAM MILESTONE

Graham’s second-quarter touchdown made him the first NFL tight end with at least 10 scoring catches in a season for two franchises. He did it three times with New Orleans and has 69 career TDs.

INJURIES

Cowboys: Five-time Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith started despite a right knee injury that kept him out of practice most of the week. He came out after the first series, replaced by Byron Bell.

UP NEXT

Seahawks: Home against Arizona next Sunday.

Cowboys: At Philadelphia next Sunday.

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Giants home underdogs hosting rival Cowboys on Sunday Night Football

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The Dallas Cowboys are running roughshod over the NFL, but covering against the New York Giants has been a stumbling block over the last couple of seasons.

The Cowboys are listed as the 3.5-point favorites against the Giants with 47.5-point total in the Sunday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Giants are responsible for the Cowboys’ only loss of the season and Dallas is 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four games against New York, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Cowboys are 7-0 straight-up and 5-2 ATS in their last seven conference games, but the Giants are also a sizzling 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall.

Dallas is 11-1 SU and 9-2-1 ATS, having won by less than the spread in each of their last two outings, against the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings.

With Giants sack leader Jason Pierre-Paul (sports hernia) done for the season, QB Dak Prescott might have more opportunity to break containment and make plays on the run. Tight end Jason Witten has long been a Giants-killer and, lo and behold, covering tight ends is a weak spot in an otherwise improved New York defense (17th in yards allowed).

Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott were playing their first game when Dallas lost 20-19 to the Giants in Week 1. No one is a rookie after Thanksgiving.

New York is 8-4 SU and 5-5-2 ATS, but have issues that could limit Eli Manning and cohorts’ ability to break down an 18th-ranked Dallas defense. Beyond WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York is lacking for diversity in the passing game that would challenge the Cowboys’ depth in the defensive secondary.

The Giants’ offensive line is struggling at both components of their job; LT Ereck Flowers might not be able to keep DE Demarcus Lawrence from hitting Manning, while the running game is the second-worst in the entire NFL.

The form suggests a scoring battle – seven of the last eight games in the long-running NFC East rivalry have gone over – and if that’s the case, the Giants might not be able to keep up. While Beckham had a 100-yard game in his last performance, it took 16 targets to get it and he only had one reception that covered more than 20 yards.

That said, it is notable that the total has gone under on the NFL betting lines in nine of the Cowboys’ last 11 road games.