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Turnover battle key to victory


The Dallas Cowboys are talking turnovers heading into their Week 7 matchup against the Panthers.

Their minus-8 turnover ratio ranks 30th in the NFL (Carolina ranks 26th with a minus-5 ratio), and head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo discussed the Cowboys' ball security troubles in conference calls with the Charlotte media.

"The turnover ratio is something that has really hurt us. Last year we were among the better teams in that area," said Garrett, whose team finished 10th with a plus-4 turnover ratio in 2011. "It's such a predictive statistic in the NFL.

"We have to take care of the ball better. We have to take the ball away better."

Romo has thrown nine interceptions – the second-most in the NFL and one behind Browns' rookie Brandon Weeden – and the Cowboys have lost three fumbles.

But Dallas has produced only four takeaways, including a league-low one interception.

"We're trying to create some more turnovers that can kind of offset a little bit," Romo said. "We preach that in practice. That's the biggest, No. 1 reason in the NFL that you win or lose games."

Romo also stressed the need to further emphasize ball security on offense, regardless of the defense's efforts in the takeaway department.

"Right now we're not doing a good enough job protecting the ball," Romo said. "We're not doing a good enough job getting the ball. That's definitely a point of emphasis, and we're doing things to get better at that."

The Carolina secondary – which ranks 19th with five interceptions – is well aware of Romo's high interception total, and they'll look for opportunities to add to it on Sunday.

"(Romo) is a good quarterback and he reminds me a little bit of Brett Favre – he feels like he can make any and every throw on the football field," Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "We are licking our chops a little bit, but we know we still have to go out there and make some plays on the ball. If we don't, he can embarrass you."

The turnover battle will be critical on Sunday, as the contest between two teams desperate for a win unfolds at Bank of America Stadium.

"This one's obviously important, because we both have a losing record right now and we both need to get going," Romo said. "The sense of urgency will be great on both sides of the ball, I know that."

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