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Sleepless in Seattle?

You know why the Cowboys should win? Because Seattle has Pete Hunter. Remember him? No? Lucky you.

I know what you're expecting me to say. Something pessimistic yet clever, like, perhaps: Screw the anointing oil; get out the embalming fluid. Not today, Cowboys fans. The sun rose in the west, Dane Cook actually told a funny and, alas, the Dallas Cowboys have a truly decent chance to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday night's NFC Playoff Game.

How? Try this round-up of positivity, some of which is semi-significant.

We all know the Cowboys limped into the post-season, losing three of their last four -- including an awful defeat to the Lions last week. But anybody check out Seattle's late-season nose-dive? The Seahawks also lost three of their last four, including defeats to crappy San Francisco and crappier Arizona during which they allowed 350-plus yards and 27-plus points. Fear not, this isn't the same team that made it to last season's Super Bowl.

The Cowboys were 5-3 on the road, including vital December wins at the Giants and Atlanta. Getting away from the ticket requests and the pesky local media and Carrie Underwood is the best thing for Dallas right now.

Sure it was a desperate move, but coach Bill Parcells may have stumbled upon something last week. The switch back to a 4-3 defensive front produced a season-high five sacks and, by far, the best quarterback pressure of the season.

While the Cowboys are one of the NFL's healthiest teams, Seattle enters the game likely without star receiver Darrell Jackson and both starting cornerbacks. Two words detail the Seahawks' sorry secondary: Pete Hunter.

Like him or not -- I think you know by now where I stand on this one -- Terrell Owens has a history of big performances in big games. In his last playoff game, for instance, he produced nine catches for 122 yards in a little ditty called Super Bowl XXXIX.

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Sports Illustrated's cob-webbed guru Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman is picking the Cowboys, 23-20. The hot chick picks Seattle. HBO's Cris Collingsworth and Bob Costas, neither of whom is hot, also like Dallas.

The Cowboys lost at Qwest Field last season when Jose Cortez botched a short field goal and Drew Bledsoe threw a brain-fart interception, but Dallas produced a big win in Seattle two seasons ago. Rookie Julius Jones rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys' 43-39 victory on December 6, 2004.

Lastly, Tony Romo started his remarkable season in Seattle. We didn't think it was a huge deal when Parcells started Romo in the preseason opener way back on August 12 and he responded by, at one point, completing 12 consecutive passes in a 13-3 victory. But now, it feels less like an oddity and more like an omen.

Cowboys 24, Seahawks 23. --Richie Whitt

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