Seahawks Vs Cowboys Preview: Smelling Blood In the Water

No More Mister Nice Guy?

Much like the game against the Falcons, and the game against the Patriots, this Seahawk match against the Cowboys is sure to provide a lot of sparks from both offenses. These two teams match up very similarly. Both are led by dynamic quarterbacks who can beat you with their arms and legs, both teams have talented pass catchers, and both have dynamic runners. What is sure to also make this game a shootout is that both teams are coming into Century Field in Seattle with hobbled defenses.

For as troubled as Seattle’s pass rush as seemed to have been through two games, Dallas has also struggled with theirs, and further more, they have faced significant injuries to their secondary and at linebacker.

Russell Wilson has been on an extremely strong MVP campaign through these first two games. What he was able to do against a talented Patriot secondary last Sunday Night was well beyond impressive. Simply put, he will be looking at this hobbled Cowboy secondary like a tiger shark smelling blood in the water, and he will attack early and often. He could have an historically game this after, and that is saying something.

On the Flip side, Dak Prescott could be his own apex predator smelling blood, especially if Seattle is going to be playing this game without defensive end Benson Mayowa, and cornerback Quinton Dunbar, both starters listed as questionable. Seattle lost Bruce Irvin for the season last Sunday Night, and with a defensive end rotation that was already pretty thin and suspect at best, if Seattle is also without Mayowa, things could get ugly if they don’t get much from players like rookie fifth round pick Alton Robinson, and it could get really really ugly if Dunbar isn’t able to go and the Seattle secondary sustains another key injury. Seattle’s depth on their defense will get tested by this potentially explosive Cowboy offense. A big key to Seattle winning this at home is for that depth to hold up just enough. If they can do that, Seattle will most likely go 3-0 after the final whistle blow, and maybe even comfortably.

Here a few of my bigger keys to game for Seattle to get the win.

Russell Wilson plays hungry (and possibly angry)

Have you all noticed what I’ve been noticing about Russ lately? No, I’m not talking about the hot start, the ridiculously high completion percentage and touchdown passes and yards. That’s all great and dandy, and I will happily take that every game to a Super Bowl victory. Nah, I’m talking about that little something extra in his demeanor and attitude lately.

Russell is playing with a bit of fire this year. I’d even go so far to say that I detect maybe a smidgen of anger on the field. I think Russell might have gotten a bit tired of everyone talking about Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson none stop. I get the sense that he might have a little Alice Cooper’s No More Mister Nice Guy rattling around in his head, even running on repeat. He’s a little saltier out there against defenders and maybe even a bit in interviews.

I think he might have reached the place with his super nice guy persona where he has realized that it was only going to take him so far. I kinda think Russ is a bit pissed that, after eight seasons of playing at a high level, he still gets overlooked by football pundits and MVP voters. And I also think that maybe he is more than a bit tired of hearing that the Super Bowl years were more about the Legion Of Boom than his quarterback play.

Simply put, I think Russ is on a mission, and that mission to to crush the souls of all doubters about him that still remain. He wants that MVP, and he wants that Super Bowl title. He wants that Super Bowl win bad so that there will be no doubt as to the reason why Seattle has won it’s second title. This all said, I think that it is highly likely that Russell is going to cook up big time against that Dallas defense, and I don’t think that he is going to want to take the foot off the gas for a second. This will be Fox’s NFL game of the week, and somewhere in his mind, I think he might know that. This is another opportunity for him to show the world that he is QB1 in this league, and when I put all that together, I expect that he will have a monster game today. Jerry Jones might want to put Earl Thomas’s phone number on his speed dial.

Alton Robinson and Shaquem Griffin add enough needed speed to the pass rush

Much has been made of Seattle’s lack of sacks and pressures through two games. I might be of the minority opinion that it’s all been a bit overblown. They faced two veteran quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Cam Newton that are hard to sack. One gets rid of the ball hyper quick and the other is just a freak of nature that is physically very difficult to bring down and Seattle has always had a difficult time with him, even in their peak years with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril as their primary pass rushers. That said, Seattle went into the season banking on big contributions from veteran edge rusher Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin, and now they are down to just Mayowa, and he is hobbled. That’s not good.

For Seattle to comfortably hold off Dallas, they are going to need Alton Robinson to step up and make an impact as a pass rusher. I’m excited to see if he can do it. With all the beat writers who watched this team through training camp, it was practically unanimous that Robinson flashed the most as a pass rusher among the young players. It was pretty surprising to me that he was inactive these first two games, but I’m not convinced that inactivity is due to him not being ready to take the field. I suspect it has more to do with coach Pete Carroll wanting more experience on the field, and his impulse was to bring him along slowly if he could (this has been his tendency with rookie pass rushers over the years, see Frank Clark, Rasheem Green, Jordan Hill, etc).

It was equally surprising to me that the team did not elect to keep rush linebacker Shaquem Griffin on the 53 man roster heading into the season, thus relegating him to the practice squad. I thought he flashed pretty well as a pass rush specialist last year, and provided some interesting juice off the edge in a few key games down the stretch. I definitely know that they could have used his speed off the edge against the Falcons and Patriots.

It’s looking and more like Dallas could go into this game without both their starting offensive tackles. Seattle has got to find ways to pressure Prescott without always sending star safety Jamal Adams. There is a huge opportunity in this game for both Griffin and Robinson to go after those backup tackles. Huge opportunity for them. I’m excited for them to show off what they got.

Rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks makes an impact in his first start

Brooks looked good in his limited snaps against the Falcons. Dallas is likely going to try to go after this Seattle defense with a balanced attack, much like Seattle loves to use. They are going to get the ball into the hands of Ezekiel Elliott as a runner and a pass catcher. Brooks has entered into the league as a fast linebacker taken in the first round who tackles very well in space. If Brooks helps slow Elliott down, that is going to make the Cowboy offense more one dimensional. I like Dak Prescott a lot as a passer, but I don’t know if I love him having to carry a team on the road without the aid of a run game, even in an empty stadium in the Covid era.

One benefit that Seattle might have with Brooks making his first start is that it is not certain where he will line up in the defense. Many are likely assuming that he will play the strong side spot the Bruce Irvin was holding down, but KJ Wright it capable of playing there. Seattle might use him a WILL and that could free him up to make more plays than maybe Dallas is anticipating. That’s going to be an interesting chess match to watch because at WILL, he showed in college to be pretty effective blitzer. Seattle could mix some interesting blitz packages with him and Adams together. This is something to watch for.

Ugo Amadi has a solid game at nickel corner

Amadi held in fairly well against the Patriots when thrust into duty after Marquise Blair was lost for the game (and now the season). He was decent enough coverage and he made some nice stops in the open field. He needs to build off of that outing in this match. It will be a tall task.

Dallas has three pretty talented receivers in Amari Cooper, rookie CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. I’m pretty certain that Cowboy coach Mike McCarthy is going to lean into this trio, especially if Seattle’s Quinton Dunbar can’t go at outside corner. The obvious person to target is the guy covering the slot receiver because that guy has the least experience. It’s up to Amadi to show McCarthy and the rest of the league that he belongs. He doesn’t need to be the star of the defense. He just needs to hold his own. I liked Amadi a lot coming out of Oregon in the draft last year. I think he has some interesting big play upside. I actually think that his play could be the sleeper key to Seattle holding off the Cowboys in this one.

How Seattle Might Lose This Game

It sucks to have to write about this subheading, but here we go. Dallas somehow is able to get Russell Wilson off his game is one way (albeit an unlikely one). Further injuries to the defensive line of Seattle or their secondary is another way and that one is considerably more likely.

Seattle is heading into this match razor thin on the defensive line, especially at defensive end. It’s why they are courting veteran defensive tackle Damon Snacks Harrison this week, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they also bring in edge rusher Clay Matthews. If Benson Mayowa is a no go in this game, Seattle will be down to LJ Collier, Damontre Moore, and Alton Robinson as their primary ends with Shaquem Griffin rushing off the edge as a linebacker. If one of those guys should go down with an injury,.. that’s just frankly pretty frightening. My fingers are crossed with Mayowa can play.

With Quinton Dundar questionable to play, and Marquise Blair out for the season, Seattle’s secondary could be pretty vulnerable in this game, and they would get really vulnerable if a starter goes down. If that happens, it is almost certain that this will be a game that Russell Wilson will need to win a shootout over Dak Prescott. It could very well come down to which offense gets the ball last to score. I will be honest, I’m not a huge fan of those sort of games.

My Final Score Prediction

The Seattle Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys 45 to 38.

I picked a low scoring win over the Patriots last week, something like 23-18, and I was completely wrong about how that game went, as it was a total shootout. So, I’m definitely picking a high scoring game in this one. Dallas was a high scoring offense last year, and it looks like they will be this year, as well.

That said, I think Russell Wilson wins a comfortable shootout against Dak Prescott. The final outcome of points might show a one score game, but I sorta see a likely scenario where Dallas scores late to get it to within seven points, but this time the onside kick doesn’t go their way, and Seattle simply drains out the clock.

Maybe this is just my homer optimism, but I actually think we might show signs of improvement with the defense. It’s just a feeling that I have watching the play-maker talent that they have, but I kinda think they are going to get Prescott off his spot a bit more with some creative ways, and that is going to create opportunities for others to make plays.

It’s also important to remember that Seattle was without free safety Quandre Diggs for most of the game against the Patriots, and whenever he is on the field, I think it just sort of settles others down, and players make plays. If Diggs would have played a full game against Cam Newton, that easily could have been enough for Seattle to have won that match more comfortably. I see Diggs being that sort of stabilizing factor in this match up today.

Who knows, though. We shall see soon enough.

Go Hawks!


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