Ehsan Azad: Despite the dramatic up-and-down season, the Dallas Cowboys finally got back into the postseason with a talented team ready to make a run. Is this the perfect team? No, not even close. The offense continues to struggle to score points, the offensive line isn’t the same as it has been in recent years and the quarterback has been as erratic as the season itself. Yet, the team made plays when it needed and now they are hosting a home playoff game.
Their prize is a streaking Seattle Seahawks team that already beat this Cowboys team earlier in the season.
The Seahawks may not have the Legion of Boom anymore, but their front-seven is as dangerous as it has been, led by linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive end Frank Clark. On the other side, magician quarterback Russell Wilson may not have the ultimate weapons around him, but he still can make plays with his arm and his feet. Don’t sleep on this offense that is surprisingly scoring 26.8 points per-game and is the number-ranked rushing team in the league.
The Cowboys to win this game, they have a simple game plan. Play sound defense, stop the run and corral Wilson. On offense, feed Zeke and hit the open man down the field. The biggest unit that has to step up is the offensive line. If they can get moving and push this Seattle D-line going backwards, this will be an easy win for the Cowboys. If they can’t, this will be a LONG game for Dak.
With all that said, look for the Cowboys to win a playoff game for the first time since 2014, 24 to 17.
Darreck Kirby: With the Cowboys back in the playoffs and Aaron Rodgers nowhere in sight, there’s a cautious optimism surrounding the team right now. It also doesn’t hurt quarterback Dak Prescott played his best game of the year in the week 17 tuneup against the New York Giants, completing 27 of 44 passes for 387 yards and a career high 4 touchdowns and 0 turnovers despite the absence of guys like Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith. Now, with the Seahawks coming to town, the Cowboys are hoping to ride a little bit of momentum and make some postseason noise of their own.
Despite Seattle lacking the real star power of the past, it’s still a very well coached team with an elite quarterback to contend with. And while both teams have radically changed since Seattle’s 24-13 victory over the Cowboys in week 3, Dallas has grown more so. Dallas enters the playoffs as the youngest team with an average age of 26 years and 14 days. Flash back to where that means the youth and relative inexperience of this team was in week 3 and it’s night and day. In week 3, we thought the Cowboys simply had a pretty good defense -not one capable of shutting down one of the league’s best offenses like they would later do against the Saints. Add in the addition of Amari Cooper and Seattle can’t even play the Cowboys the same way as they did in the previous meeting. Were this game in Seattle, I would probably feel different, but the Seahawks have yet to beat a team on the road with a record over .500. Dallas, meanwhile, has just one loss at home all season, and a roster full of guys looking to prove they belong. As such, I’m taking Dallas 26-21.
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