The Seahawks played one of the worst games in franchise history last week, and now get to travel to Dallas for Ezekiel Elliott’s return to the Cowboys. Todd Gurley barely was touched most of the day as the Seattle run defense was absent. This game will not be close if the Seahawks look anything like that when Elliott lines up in the backfield. He has stated an expectation that he is going to run for over 200 yards in his first game back. That is not out of the question.

This Dallas offense has been completely different without Elliott these past six games. There have been some other factors, but he is clearly a major part of how this team functions and will be back with a point to prove in front of his home crowd. It is unclear if the Seahawks have enough motivation or ability to stop him.

 

The way this works: Each offense will be pitted against the opposing defense and compared on an array of key statistical attributes based on their respective rank in the NFL. The tables that follow show the rank of each unit for each of these categories. 

This series is sponsored by Sarah Heath, a huge Seahawks fan and Hawk Blogger patron. Please thank her by checking out her site and consider working with her on your next home purchase or sale in the Seattle area. She will donate an additional $500 to Ben’s Fund for every closed transaction!

Seahawks Offense vs Cowboys Defense

Cowboys key advantages on defense

Something strange has happened to the Cowboys offense during Elliott’s absence. They went from ranking 3rd in the NFL in sacks to ranking 31st. They have only 5 sacks in the past 6 games. Elliott was not the only player out. Linebacker Sean Lee has missed a few games due to injury, which may have led to fewer obvious passing situations. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence had 10.5 sacks through eight games, but just 3.0 in his past six. It is a bit hard to know if Elliott’s impact on the offense will unlock the pass rushing that has been missing on the Cowboys defense.

Lee is an elite linebacker when he is healthy. He hunts out backs in the running game and is solid in coverage. The Cowboys starting corners are both decent, if not dominant, players.

Seahawks key advantages on offense

 

Russell Wilson should give this defense fits when he scrambles. They are not athletic enough on the defensive line to keep him contained. Seattle receivers should have the advantage, especially Doug Baldwin in the slot. Expect a big game from Wilson and Baldwin. This may also be a game where Jimmy Graham and the tight ends play a central role.

 

Cowboys Offense vs Seahawks Defense

 

Cowboys key advantages on offense

The chart above is misleading based on the impact of Elliott being out for six games. This is a balanced and powerful offense when he is in there. Seattle will need to completely reverse the trend of the past two weeks in defending the run to keep this team from controlling the ball and piling up yards and points. This is not an offense that relies on explosive passes. Seattle’s defense is designed to limit those types of plays. That tends to indicate the Cowboys offense is well-suited to beat this Seahawks defense.

Seahawks key advantages on defense

Dallas may be missing their best offensive lineman in left tackle Tyron Smith. That would leave someone like Byron Bell to take over. Both Bell and right tackle La’el Collins are vulnerable in pass protection. Frank Clark and Michael Bennett should have major advantages to exploit.

Special Teams

Seahawks kicking vs Cowboys returning

 

 

Cowboys kicking vs Seahawks returning

The Cowboys have been very productive in punt returns this season, and the Seahawks have been a total disaster the past two weeks in that regard. Seattle does not have enough advantages elsewhere to overcome another porous game on special teams.

 

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. Uncle Bob

    Out here in non-Seattle area there’s pretty much a universal belief that the Seahawks don’t stand a chance this weekend. And why not? They’ve stunk up the place (where ever they’ve been) the past two games. I don’t much care for lame “stats” we hear too often like stating the “home field winning record” in the Carroll era, or similar. The one that may be set to fall is the “no more than two losses in a row since 2011” one.

    Last week Eric Dickerson said Gurley bet him he would get 200 yards total on the day. Had McVay not pulled him early he probably would have. Now Zeke making the same claim. Braggadocio? Perhaps. Or………….the blue print for a poor game plan that seems unwavering is well enough known around the league now that a performance of that magnitude IS realistic. I hope not, but recent performance doesn’t give much hope.

    The calls for a massive/radical overhaul of the players are overwrought, but will be even more widespread if we see a third loss in a row. The reality is, the roster gets churned (dare say overhauled?) quite a bit each season (but not so much for the coordinator/coaching level) so focusing on player changes alone hasn’t worked out all that well so far………………………..might be a clue there.

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  2. Doug

    Ok, my optimistic nature has taken a big hit the last couple of weeks, and let’s face it: that Rams game was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Dallas should be feeling confident going into this game.

    But I think there is a chance for Seattle. I am sure this past week has seen a lot of “who are we?” type conversations in the room, and Seattle cannot possibly play worse than they did vs the Rams. Despite the injuries, Seattle has some great talent on both sides of the ball, and they still have a shot at the playoffs however unlikely. Things are never as bad (or good) as they seem, and I believe we will see a strong effort on both sides of the ball on Sunday. The game will be close at the end and may need an ending like the LA Rams game (in LA) for Seattle to pull out the win. It is possible, and I will be rooting for it!

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