Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Predictions


The Dallas Cowboys got off to a great start to the new NFL season when they defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions in their home stadium. The Cowboys’ next opponent is the Seattle Seahawks, who lost yesterday to the Arizona Cardinals.  Based on a review of both games, here are some predictions:

Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks with linebacker Sean Lee (50) during a time out in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Dallas won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

First,  I was completely wrong last week, but who expected the defense would be so dominant? Obviously I’ll adjust for that this week, but I also have to adjust for Phil Costa being out. There’s every possibility that Ryan Cook is an upgrade (not because he’s any good, but because Phil Costa is just so bad). No one is sure how Phil Costa ended up being the starting center again, but then again I suppose Ryan Cook is a backup for a reason, and that leaves me equally parts optimistic and pessimistic.

  • Only one team in all of football has the capacity to dominate the Giants and implode against the Seahawks, and it’s your Dallas Cowboys. Remember when they beat the Dolphins and things were looking up? Remember when they looked past the Cardinals (though poor coaching had something to do with it but still) and lost to them and the Eagles?  This could be a trap game for the Cowboys, not because the team after next is good, but because the initial win was so important and emotional.
  • It’s still unlikely that the Cowboys will lose. Seattle couldn’t crack 20 points against the Cardinals, a slightly above middle-of-the-pack (top 12 or so) defense. Maybe that’s because they have a 23rd power ranked offense. With what looks (admittedly prematurely) like a top 10 or maybe even a top 5 Cowboys defense, shutting Seattle down shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Sept. 8, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs up field with the ball during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

    Russell Wilson should be about average against this defense, which basically means how he performed against the Cardinals. He was 18-34 with one pick (on a last second heave at the end of the first half) and should have had a touchdown, but the replacement refs blew what looked like two pass interference calls. While his arm and decision making could be improved, his feet should let him escape the pocket and extend plays. Not much came in terms of rushing (he averaged 2.5 yards per carry) but quarterbacks who extend plays tend to give the Cowboys fits (though Eli Manning was held in check.)

  • This is pure speculation, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bruce Carter intermittently “spy” (watch the quarterback and make sure he doesn’t scramble) Wilson throughout the game. The most important Cowboy thinks he’s “the fastest linebacker in the NFL”, a notion likely shared by the coaching staff, though maybe not as hyperbolic as Jerry put it. Dontay Moch ran a rumored 4.19 at his Nevada Proday, and reports of his 40 time range from 4.34 to 4.44, the latter being an official NFL Combine record for a defensive end. Moch now plays outside linebacker.
  • Predictions

    Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter (54) and New York Giants running back Henry Hynoski (45) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

    Bruce Carter will get 9+ tackles but no sacks. The Seahawks like to run straight up the middle, which should allow Carter (and Sean Lee) to feast on Marshawn Lynch. Lynch ran the ball 21 times against the Cardinals, and against the Cowboys he could have even more carries to slow down the pass-rush. If Lee eats up half of those rushes (13) and Bruce Carter gets 60 percent of what’s left (about 8,) then all he needs is one more tackle anywhere. However, since some of his time will likely be spent spying Russel Wilson and not rushing the passer,  he may not get any sacks, but he will probably get plenty of knockdowns and one yard stops. However, he could get a “cheap” sack (one that’s one yard behind the yard of scrimmage or something like that.)

    Sean Lee will force another fumble. Marshawn Lynch has fumbled fourteen times in his career and already coughed up the football once against the Cardinals, so he ought to be easy pickings for Sean Lee. Marshawn Lynch is in for a long and ineffective day running the ball.

    Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) goes up for reception and runs it in for touch down against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Dallas Cowboys defeat the New York Giants by a score of 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

    Neither Dez Bryant, Miles Austin nor Jason Witten will catch a red zone touchdown. Simply put, the Seahawks’ secondary is huge. All of their cornerbacks are 5’11 or over (two of them are 6’3 and over) and all are pretty talented. Dez Bryant can jump, but even he would struggle to compete against a guy with a 6 inch practical (4 inches in height and two inch longer arms) advantage. Slot guys and running backs however, could be key.

    Kevin Ogletree lining up in the slot and running a comeback route may be the only aerial option, since two 6’3+ plus corners pretty much shut down the fade in the corner of the end zone. Marcus Trufant is their biggest corner, so he will probably be used on the outside to take away the corner-fade. That being said, if he lines up on the outside he’s still about the same height as Dez Bryant [though he doesn’t jump as high] and will still make it a difficult play.)

    The Cowboys will win by a touchdown. The spread is Cowboys by 12, but an emotional win followed by a less talented opponent should make all Cowboys’ fans nervous. The Cowboys are too talented to really struggle, and I have full confidence Jason Garrett will make his team prepared, but my gut says they underperform. It happened last year after the overtime win at San Francisco – the they barely  edged out the Redskins in the following week.

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