By Zach Walker
Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – November 1 – 3:25 pm CT
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
WR Tyler Lockett – Since the Cowboys have decided to start losing games in all three phases these days, they’re going to have to buckle down on Tyler Lockett. Lockett is a hell of a football player. His father was his coach growing up, was the jack of all trades at Kansas State and earned himself his third-round pick which could have been higher based on the fact that he just does everything that a team asks of him, perfectly. If the Cowboys expect to be out of position they’re going to be mistaken. They have to force him to make mistakes which isn’t going to be easy either. Luckily for the Cowboys he isn’t a number one receiver so Brandon Carr won’t be on him. Most likely it’ll be Mo Claiborne, who has played pretty damn good this year. But the attention must extend to the special teams, where Lockett really shines with his well-rounded play.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
The Cowboys pass rush – Last season, the pass rush was really a big difference maker in the Seattle game, this year the pass rush has been improved through free agency and the draft. Now they really have to step up. This group must be the one that wins the game for the Cowboys. They have to get after Russell Wilson. Getting him off his spot, getting him to throw early, just affecting him all game long for the Cowboys to win. The Cowboys were conservative with Randy Gregory against the Giants, this game has to be the complete off the leash game for Randy Gregory. Greg Hardy could hush some critics with a releasing of the Kraken type game. And the Crawford’s need to keep their respective games going.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Seahawks’ Secondary – News flash! The Cowboys wide receivers aren’t good without Dez Bryant. The Seattle secondary has been underwhelming thus far this season, but that won’t happen against the Cowboys. If Dez Bryant doesn’t go and I think it’s time for Dez to get back in the fold. But if Dez is held out another week, then it is up to Terrance Williams, Bryce Butler, Cole Beasley, and Devin Street to carry the load for the sixth consecutive game, and that’s an easy advantage Seattle. It’s going to be up to the play design and the execution of effective passes from Matt Cassel to throw the receivers open.
Which group will give the Seahawks fits?
The Cowboys’ run game – This team isn’t getting any free wins, so any minor victory in a game is a massive one, and their ability to run the ball on the New York Giants is a massive improvement. The Giants don’t have the personnel of the Seattle Seahawks and that’s the biggest difference coming into this game. Pretty much every position on the defense will be better than they were a week ago, so if the Cowboys can get the run game going like they did against New York, then that will be one hell of an accomplishment. Darren McFadden is the starter now, and he’s coming in followed by momentum, and following his blocking that looked like they’ve found their stride and more importantly, their push. The guards (Collins and Martin) need to get to the second level and cut off Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright from getting to the backs, because they don’t get trucked one-on-one by running backs.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Cassel needs to continue to stretch the field like he did against the Giants, just minus one turnover, I’ll accept two turnovers, not three from a backup quarterback. Run the ball like you came up with the idea of running the ball, and affect Russell Wilson in the pocket. These teams were supposed to meet in the playoffs this postseason, and with the way the NFC West looks and the fact that without Tony Romo, the Cowboys’ look to be a ‘Taco Bye’ in the NFL landscape, these teams are in real danger of completely dodging the playoffs.
Prediction: Dallas 24 – Seattle 23 I see the pass rush dominating Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks’ pass rush pushing Matt Cassel into poor decisions, but the Cowboys’ run game triumphs over the Seahawks.