NFL Odds & Predictions: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
Seattle Faces Dallas in First NFC Wildcard Game
The Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys both finished the regular season as two of the hottest teams in the league playing a very similar brand of football. Now the two will meet up from AT&T Stadium in Dallas for the right to move on to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Seattle won six of their last seven games including a dramatic win over the AFC-best Kansas City Chiefs. Their identity is as a ball-control team. In fact, after years of having a porous offensive line and a weak running game, both were shored up this season.
Seattle led the NFL in rushing yards per game at 160.0. That is more than 20 yards better than the third best team on the list. Second-year player Chris Carson finished fifth in the NFL rushing for 1151 yards and between Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny, they added another 933 yards and six touchdowns. And that doesn’t even account for quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to escape the rush and turn it into positive yardage.
All that running opened up space in the passing game and between Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin, Wilson has two targets he’s been working with for years. They both missed time during the season but are healthy now.
All told, Wilson threw at least five touchdowns to four different receivers and finished his season with 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Dallas finished with an identical 10-6 record after winning seven of their last eight games. Similar to the Seahawks, they lean on the run to help open up options in the passing game. And in Ezekiel Elliott they have the NFL’s rushing leader who put up 1434 yards and six touchdowns. But the drop-off after him is steep with Rod Smith’s 127 yards next among the running backs.
The offensive line has also had its up and downs this season, but after four regulars sat against the Giants last week, should be healthier than its been in weeks.
The passing game improved measurably since Amari Cooper was acquired at the trade deadline. Teams have been game planning successfully in the past three weeks to take him out of the equation. Last week, Dak Prescott and company responded well with Prescott throwing for a career high four touchdowns and 387 yards. TE Blake Jarwin had a break out game with seven catches, for 119 yards and three touchdowns and Cole Beasly caught an incredible touchdown for the deciding points in the 36-35 win.
The defense behind Demarcus Lawrence up front, Jaylen Smith and Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker and Byron Jones in the secondary has become a force, but they have allowed 20 points or more in each of their last four games.
Seattle finished 6th averaging 26.8 PPG and 11th allowing 21.7 PPG
Dallas finished 22nd averaging 21.2 PPG and 6th allowing 20.3 PPG