The NFL will close out the Saturday doubleheader between the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) and the Dallas Cowboys (10-6) in Texas. The Seahawks defeated Dallas back in September by the score of 24-13 in Seattle. Will the change in venue be enough of a factor to change the outcome? For that answer, let’s take the time to preview both teams.
Quarterbacks: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (3,448 yds, 35 TD, 7 INT) has led Seattle to a playoff berth although many football experts predicted that the Seahawks would be as horrible as last season. Dallas QB Dak Prescott (3,885 yds, 22 TD, 8 INT) led the Cowboys to their second NFC East Division title in three seasons. Both quarterbacks have the capability to improvise when a play breaks down due to pressure, but they are both susceptible to holding on to the ball too long as they have been sacked over 50 times this season. Advantage: A slight edge goes to the Seahawks due to Wilson’s playoff experience of being in two Super Bowls.
Running Backs: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing yards with 1,434. Giving him the ball more than 20 times a game is a key factor as to why Dallas is in the playoffs. For the Seahawks, things began to change for the better when Seattle RB Chris Carson (1,151 yds) became the full-time starter earlier in the season. Advantage: Cowboys.
Wide Receivers: The Seahawks receiving corps has been led by Tyler Lockett (965 yds, 10 TD) and Doug Baldwin (618 yds, 5 TD). For Dallas, their season began to improve when they traded for Amari Cooper (725 yds, 6 TD). Cooper became the centerpiece of their receiving crew. Advantage: Even.
Defensive Line: Dallas will look to create pressure along both sides of the line with a defensive end rotation of DeMarcus Lawrence (10.5 sacks), Randy Gregory (6 sacks), and Tyrone Crawford (5.5 sacks). Seattle is able to bring pressure from the outside and the inside with DE Frank Clark (14 sacks) and DT Jarran Reed (10.5 sacks). Advantage: Even.
Linebackers: The heart and soul of the Seahawks defense is MLB Bobby Wagner (138 tackles). He will look to keep the run game at bay. The Cowboys linebacking corps is led by rookie Leighton Vander Esch (140 tackles) and Jaylon Smith (121 tackles). Advantage: Cowboys.
Secondary: The defensive backs from both teams are solid not spectacular. Advantage: Even.
Kickers/Special Teams: The unsung hero of this game could possibly be Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, who is arguably the best punter in the NFL (48.19 yds per punt, 28 inside of the 20). Advantage: Seahawks.
This game should go to the wire. I pick the Seahawks to win 20-14.
Sources: Stats are from Seahawks.com and ESPN.com. The pic is from Pixabay.com.