Week 16 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackThe Seahawks are at a crossroads after losing 42-7 at home to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15. This team wants to rebound and show that it still has the swagger to win a key game on the road. While it’s not all on quarterback Russell Wilson, he will need to take charge of the offense and attack the Dallas defense. If it’s close, look for Wilson to come through in the fourth quarter.After a brief but painful slump, the Cowboys have righted the ship and are once again in playoff contention. Of course, the Cowboys have to take care of their own business, but there is confidence in Dallas and a belief that Dak Prescott will make the throws that need to be made. Prescott’s ability to read the defense has helped him to become one of the more effective leaders in the game.
- OffenseThe Seahawks have struggled badly with their running backs. The injury to rookie Chris Carson hurt this team badly, because they can’t pick up key yards on the ground unless Wilson does the running. The passing game has been excellent, but opponents know that Seattle has to go to the air. Doug Baldwin will win the fight for the ball while Paul Richardson has the speed to make big plays.The great news for the Cowboys is that Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension is finally over. The running back will attack the suddenly vulnerable Seattle defense with quick-hitting runs, and once he gets to the second level he can make big plays. Dez Bryant should have a much easier time with the return of Elliott, while tight end Jason Witten finds a way to get open and make crucial catches.
- DefenseThe Rams pummeled the once-formidable Seattle defense, as Todd Gurley rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Much of that was due to middle linebacker Bobby Wagner’s hamstring injury. Wagner is one of the three best defensive players in the league when healthy. The Seattle Legion of Boom secondary had been ruined by injury. Defensive end Michael Bennett must get to Prescott.The Cowboys have been ordinary on defense this year as they rank 17th in yards allowed. That’s a key reason they were not able gain any traction in the middle part of the season. Dallas has had its share of injuries, but they are much better when middle linebacker Sean Lee is in the lineup, and he has been back in the lineup the past two weeks. Demarcus Lawrence ha a team-high 13.5 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks used to dominate on special teams, but that has not been the case this season. While they have been outgained on punt returns, explosive Tyler Lockett can break a big play at any time. PK Blair Walsh is not always dependable when the game is one the line.The Cowboys have been excellent on special teams and they appear to be improving. It took a while for Ryan Switzer to gain his footing as a return specialist, but he is running with speed and confidence. Dan Bailey is one of the most dependable clutch placekickers in the league.
Both teams need this game badly, but the Seahawks have the look of a tired team ready to get knocked off its perch for a second week in a row.