IRVING — Jason Garrett played on defending Super Bowl championship teams three times.
He remembers how every game in 1993, ’94 and ’96, seasons after titles, the Cowboys had a bull’s-eye on their jerseys.
“After you have won a championship, there is no question about that, and that is just the nature of it,” said Garrett, who joined the Cowboys as a backup quarterback in 1993 after they won the 1992 Super Bowl. “As a team, you probably develop a hardness about you to get ready for those challenges, and that is a good thing.”
The Cowboys will be on the other side of that Sunday in Seattle. They will use the defending champion Seahawks as a measuring stick.
“I think we certainly know who these guys are, and they earned the right to be champions,” Garrett said. “I don’t know if there’s been a more impressive playoff and Super Bowl run than they had last year. They were awfully good. They’re off to a good start this year. They look like the same kind of team, so we understand the challenges. You just have to put the tape on, and they’ll get your attention. Whatever motivation you need beyond that, that’s up to you. But just watch the tape.”
Despite the Cowboys’ 4-1 start, questions remain about just how good they are. Their four victories came against teams that are a combined 7-12.
The Cowboys can make a big statement by beating the Seahawks in Seattle, though.
The Seahawks have won 17 of their past 18 home games, outscoring opponents 538-241. They beat the Cowboys 27-7 in Seattle in 2012 in Russell Wilson’s first career victory in his second career start.
“You go up there, and if we could have a win and come out of Seattle when no one is expecting it, then that would be a real [bonus],” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s 20-17 overtime victory over the Texans. “You look for those. You try to find those, how you can basically build this thing. That’ll give us an opportunity to do that.”
The Cowboys’ Super Bowl odds are decreasing by the win, as their confidence rises. The Cowboys have never finished worse than 9-7 after starting 4-1, though they did miss the playoffs in 1984 and 2008 despite finishing 9-7 those seasons.
The Cowboys rank sixth in total offense, including first in rushing, and 21st in total defense before Monday night’s game factors into the rankings.