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A potential stumbling block is that Jackson will be facing a Dallas defense that wants to bounce back strong after getting humiliated by Vick and LeSean McCoy.

The Cowboys had been the NFL’s top run defense until allowing the Eagles to stomp them for 239 yards. Rob Ryan’s unit remains tops in the NFC, though, at 328.3 yards per game of total defense. One wrinkle this week is that Sean Lee, the linebacker who leads the club in tackles and interceptions, probably won’t play because of a wrist injury. That should open more time for veterans Bradie James and Keith Brooking, and perhaps rookie Bruce Carter, a second-round pick who debuted last week only on special teams.

Defense is Seattle’s strength, too. The Seahawks have allowed three teams to scored 13 points or less; problem is their offense has scored 13 points or less four times.

Carroll said a young offensive line is part of the problem. However, their defense is young, too, and is among the league’s best in a few categories. Their specialties mainly involve stopping the run. They are tops in yards per attempt (3.16), second in limiting yards on first downs and 11th overall against the run.

“We have to keep hanging until we play well and get right and get some consistency and feel good about our play,” Carroll said.

Seattle’s leading tackler is David Hawthorne, who is in his fourth year out of nearby TCU. Two other Texans start on the defense, Earl Thomas and Red Bryant. Coming home is a treat for them because Seahawks games are rarely shown in these parts, making this a rare chance to “let your friends know that you play ball and play ball well.”

Hawthorne grew up a little more than an hour away from the stadium in Corsicana, the son of a die-hard Cowboys fan. His loyalty to his son and his team will be shaken this weekend.

“He’ll probably still be like 50-50 because he’ll drive up there with a Dallas Cowboys star on the back of his truck,” Hawthorne said. “He’ll be wearing a Seahawks jersey and that’s a big step for him.”