Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks: The Final Verdict

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2.    The Cowboys WRs vs the Seahawks defensive backs.  You would think this is a clear cut victory for the Cowboys, especially with the emergence of WR Kevin Ogletree and the return of a healthy Jason Witten, but this will be a battle.  While I do believe the Cowboys should win this matchup, the back-end of the Seahawks defense is pretty impressive.

Starting at the beginning of his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pacific University, Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll has always had a keen focus on defensive backs and it shows in the talent he has brought together.  The Seahawks are the only team in the league to return a secondary with three players who played in last year’s Pro Bowl.  CB Brandon Browner along with Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are the cornerstones to a young, but extremely talented secondary.

Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) receives a pass to head for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Dallas won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

When you add in a wily veteran like Marcus Trufant, you have a unit to be reckoned with.  Although he had the likes of John Skelton and Kevin Kolb throwing him the ball, WR Larry Fitzgerald was held to 4 catches for 63 yards.  Where the Cowboys can attack this unit and what will likely be their season-long recipe for success, will be the ability to spread the field and spread the ball around.  Expect to see a fair amount of check-downs to RB DeMarco Murray and screens to Felix Jones in order to loosen up the coverage, and also look for a big game from WR Miles Austin.  It seems like it’s his time to have another break out performance as Seattle will undoubtedly focus on Dez Bryant and the Witten/Ogletree combination occupying the middle of the field.  QB Tony Romo must be patient and take what the defense gives him until bigger plays down the field open up. Verdict: Toss Up.

3.    The Cowboys special teams coverage vs. Leon Washington. This is the area that could swing the game, especially if it’s close, in favor of the Seahawks.  Return man Leon Washington has the ability to not only flip field position, but also to put points on the board.  It would be a shame for the defense to put up a stellar performance only to have it tainted by lackluster special teams play.

Oct 25, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis revews a play with the kick-off team during the game against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The two Cowboys who are most important when it comes to keeping Washington in check are K Dan Bailey and P Chris Jones.  Bailey’s job is much easier because he has the leg to prevent any returns on kick-offs.  Jones, on the other hand, has to be careful.  Although Jones averaged over 50 yards for his two punts against the Giants, he needs to be more precise in his directional placement this week.  Outkicking his coverage with a booming 50+ yard punt could prove costly, so he should substitute those for 45 yard directional punts with 4-plus second hangtime.  Pay attention to the number of fair catches Washington has to make on Sunday; more is better.  There is a real cause for concern and all Cowboys fans should be nervous each time the punt team hits the field, but with attention to detail by Special Teams Coach Joe DeCamillis, this can be nullified.  Verdict: Cross your fingers.

The more areas you assess, the more advantages the Cowboys seem to have going into this week’s game.  The other area that needs to be mentioned is what former coach Bill Parcells called the “hidden yardage”: penalties.  If the Cowboys take care of the careless penalties, this could be another stellar week for QB Tony Romo.  Taking into account the above noted advantages, the overall talent level, and the team mentality of the 2012 edition of the Dallas Cowboys, the final verdict is Cowboys 45  Seahawks 9.

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