Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks: The Final Verdict

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The Dallas Cowboys started off the 2012 season on a winning note last week with a 24-17 road victory over the defending NFC East and Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Cowboys now head to the West Coast to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Sept 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) pauses before being sacked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Given that so much of the preseason turnover in the Cowboys organization was predicated upon unseating the Super Bowl Champion Giants, last week was a very important victory for the pysche of the Cowboys’ fans, players, coaches, and front office.  Although it was only week one, it would be a total understatement to say this was just another game for the Cowboys.

You could tell during the off-season how hard it was for the organization as a whole to restrain from making it all about the Giants.  Owner, President, and General Manager Jerry Jones finally succumbed to the pressure during training camp when he proclaimed, “Y’all should come to that stadium and watch us beat the New York Giants’ butts”.  Say hello to Jerry “All Seeing and Knowing” Jones as he correctly predicted that one.

Although there were plenty of great storylines coming out of the Giants game, it’s now time to turn our focus towards QB Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.  The rookie QB is coming off of a less than spectacular game against the Arizona Cardinals that still could have ended in victory if WR Braylon Edwards makes one catch.

As both casual fans and obsessive amateur analysts understand, a NFL game is made up of small battles within the game and either of these can greatly influence the outcome in an instant.  Let’s take a look at three key areas that will likely determine if the Cowboys start the season 2-0 or 1-1.

1.    The Seahawks offensive line vs. the Cowboys front seven.  By all accounts, this looks like a total mismatch in favor of the Cowboys.  The stats show that QB Russell Wilson was sacked three times, but what the stats won’t tell you is that his athleticism is the only thing that prevented the sack total from being six or seven.  Wilson is plenty athletic enough to move in the pocket and at times make plays with his legs, but most rookies become extremely inaccurate when they can’t set their feet.

Sept 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher (97) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

This proved to be Wilson’s downfall against the Cardinals and will likely be the story against the Cowboys.  Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton, a Pittsburgh Steelers disciple, utilized multiple blitzes and disguised fronts to bring pressure.  On the flip side, Dallas Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan stuck with the base 3-4 look for the majority of the game and was able to neutralize the usually high octane act of the Giants.  This may have been due to QB Eli Manning’s high completion rate vs. the blitz, so going up against a rookie QB this week could call for more exotic fronts and blitzes.

Compounding the Seahawks problems is the bone bruise to LT Russell Okung’s knee and the benching of RG J.R. Sweezy for poor play.  This game will continue the confidence upswing for a Cowboys front seven that could prove to be one of the league’s best.  I predict the first two sacks of the year for Anthony Spencer this week.  Verdict: Huge Advantage to Cowboys.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Seattle Seahawks Tony Romo

  • Hawk_Eye

    If you think Dallas is going to score 45 points against the Seahawks Defense, you don’t know crap about football.

    • http://twitter.com/THillSportDFW Thrill Hill

      We’ll talk next week genius.

  • http://www.facebook.com/directortom Tom Salagaj

    It does not bode well for Dallas that “in the NFL anything can happen and usually does!” If Dallas comes out flat and Seattle plays their best game….so to speak, anything can happen. If Dallas manages to screw up a game in which they are highly favored, the talk will not be in how great the Seahawks played as much as how stupid the Cowboys are. Dallas will slip back in the laughing stock that most analysts think they are anyway. This is Dallas’ game to lose….they must take care of business. It’s going to be a tough year anyway with the NFC East, Ravens, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/THillSportDFW Thrill Hill

    I agree that no matter what happens, win or lose, the story will be about the Cowboys. This is a prime opportunity for the defense to serve this one up for Romo and crew. If the defense controls field position and keeps Seattle behind in down and distance, it will provide for shorter fields, quicker scores, and continue the growth of the team’s confidence…

  • http://yourdailycowboysfootballfix.com/author/cowgirlcas/ Cowgirlcas22

    one thing to keep in mind is Az has some solid depth at running back and Sea held them to a mere 27 yds rushing. Clemons will be very disruptive off of the edge and I am not banking on Free being able to stop him. If they can contain Murray and make the Dallas offense 1 dimensional there will be problems. As you noted they have a solid secondary. Lynch is a hand full and the determining factor in this game will be containing him. Josh Brent will have to win the Battles against veteran center Chris Unger who is very strong at the point of attack. If he cant get any pressure and allows Wilson to step up in to a nice comfy pocket, rookie or not, Wilson has shown he can make the throws. Ogletree was against backup corners last week, this will be a tougher battle for him. I find 45 pts pretty hard to swallow, I am feeling the Cowboys 17 shehawks 14 as more likely. They will pound Lynch on the ground vehemently and eventually tire the defense out. If the OL cant’t contain Clemons, and or stop the pressure up the middle, allowing Romos weapons time to get open against that secondary, Romo will have a very long night. This game will have to be won in the trenches.

    • http://twitter.com/THillSportDFW Thrill Hill

      Good observations Cas…there are several individual matchups that will help determine the outcome of the game. It looks like Seattle will have to do without Okung and TE Miller and G Moffitt are banged up as well. Line play will be huge, as usual.

  • californy

    I just want to make a correction the boys were more in a 4-3 and 5-2 defensive line against the Giants. This defense help them slow them down ground attack.. Murphy is one of those backs who can break arm tackles also, dont look pass the Seahalwks at all. The 45-9 score seem a liitle once sided, I believe it will be much closer than that. last Year the Seahawks stopped The Cowboys in the Redz Zone 4 times for 3 FG and a fumble at the 1 yard line by Dez.
    I seen The AZ game. On Paper you would of though Wilson would of had a bad game, he did to some extent, but you must give credit to the Cardinals, they have one of the better defenses in the NFC. I consider their defense almost as good as SF. The Defensive coorinator is a genius to me. Patrick peterson look average in this defense because of the talent around him.
    You didnt mention the Seahawks defensive line at all. You failed to mention their ability to push the line back and to get all the tip balls. The tip balls are no where to be found in most NFL stats catagories, I think they had like 5 in last game, if not more.
    Do I expect the boys to win. Yes but it will be a much closer game than what you are projecting. Wilson is the unpredictable factor in Seattle offense. I believe he offer an element with his legs that we have not seen yet. I prefer we dont see it either.
    Romo will be running for his life with this bad OL If Romo stay in the pocket he will get a lot of tip balls. Romo will be more sucessfull by moving outside the pocket to create more time.

    • http://twitter.com/THillSportDFW Thrill Hill

      Not sure about the 4-3 or 5-2 alignments you referenced. The Cowboys used the base 3-4 more against the Giants than they did in either of the two times they’ve faced them under Rob Ryan. So, that’s incorrect. As for Wilson’s bad game vs. the AZ defense, I foresee similar results. If I had to choose who to focus on, it would be Lynch, not Wilson. If we control the LOS and Lynch, we have the opportunity to expose a rookie QB. There is more pressure for him vs the Cowboys than the Cardinals. As for the Seattle D-line, I didn’t overlook them, but I think the Dallas DL vs. Seahawk OL battle will have more of an impact on the game outcome. Jason Garrett will be able to utilize the pass/run mix to neutralize the Cardinals DL much like he did vs. the Giants. I do believe this will be a dominant win by the Boys and expect a 21-3 or 24-3 halftime lead. Time will tell.

      • californy

        Thrill I have the game copied, I know exactly what i am talking about when I mention the 4-3, and 5-2 defensive line. I also reviewed the Giants game to see anything I might have missed.