By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks
Sunday – October 12 – 3:25 pm
CenturyLink Field – Seattle
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
RB Marshawn Lynch – If the Cowboys can limit what Lynch can do on the ground, and take advantage when he’s on the sidelines for break, and contain Robert Turbin, the Cowboys can have a shot at the upset. Arian Foster made quick work of the defense when Rolando McClain left the field in the fourth quarter and overtime. Lynch is like Foster, if amplified by five. Lynch is a cruel running back, a sledgehammer mixed with a steamroller, and can very easily destroy the game for the Cowboys.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
S Barry Church – Church got juked hard by Arian Foster last week, but Lynch isn’t likely going to use the juke get past Church, he’ll likely just go over and through him. Church isn’t just going to have to worry about slowing Lynch, but he’s going to have to watch for where Russell Wilson is on every play. Not that I know who is going to be responsible for Wilson, but Church as the safety, he’s likely to be the last line of defense to stop Wilson or Lynch.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Seahawks Quarterbacks – Not really a group, but in a dual threat quarterback, it can seem like multiple players. And of all of the dual threat quarterbacks, Wilson is the best. A lot of talk about Wilson being early MVP, but to me, Wilson is the best situational quarterback in the league. Even if the coverage is stellar, Wilson can just take off and pick up the first down, and while picking up the first down is why he’s the best. He’ll duck out of bounds just beyond the marker, not getting greedy, not willing to risk taking a shot, not willing to sacrifice his efficiency to keep his team on the field. His running ability is extremely discouraging for a defense, and really limits how a team can attack him.
Which group will give the Seahawks fits?
The Cowboys offensive line – This game is this offensive line’s benchmark game. If the Cowboys can lead Murray to a 100 yard rushing game, this could very well translate to a Cowboys’ upset. The Seahawks have some seriously bad men, when it comes to stopping everything, Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright. And they can get after the quarterback, just as well as they can stop the run. The line neutralized JJ Watt very well, but this is more than one man, this is group on group, and it’s the game.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Every player on the Cowboys has to play up to their potential to escape “Thunderdome” with a victory (I realize that CenturyLink isn’t a dome). If this team truly is different, they will be in this game and hang with the big boys, but if this team is going to be great, they’ll win this game. I genuinely don’t know how to stop Russell Wilson, he’s just too smart and beyond capable of making everything seem very simple for him, but maybe playing Anthony Hitchens on permanent spy could do something, but I don’t know. Stopping Marshawn Lynch is a team task, then there’s the Seahawks’ secondary. Kam Chancellor covering Jason Witten is a great matchup because they are both capable of great things on a play-by-play basis. Earl Thomas is a major authority, and the corners, Maxwell and Sherman, have earned a reputation that they aren’t likely to give much room for error.
Prediction: Dallas 24 – Seattle 34: I’m picking Seattle based on the way that they play at home, and when in Seattle, they can bully teams out of town. I expect that the Dallas will run the ball well, but I expect third downs and red zone trips to be dangerous for the ‘Boys. But I do suspect a great game, that’s for sure.