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Seahawks vs. Cowboys preview: David vs. Goliath in the house that Jerry built

The Cowboys are mighty tough at home but they’re facing the league’s best ‘primetime’ team.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Years from now, when our children’s children listen to us tell the story of tonight’s game, their eyes will glisten, their hears will race, and they’ll hold their breath as they hang . . . on . . . every . . . word.

Then one of them will wipe their Cheetos-covered hands across their vintage jersey and the moment will be lost forever.

Much like our hope will be if the home team wipes their field with our favorite players tonight - which is pretty much what DraftKings Sportsbook thinks will happen.


Facts and Figures

On paper, the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Dallas Cowboys is a mismatch of nearly biblical proportions: David vs. Goliath, so to speak.

Yeah, that’s hyperbole, but . . . it’s backed up with some facts.

  • Fact: The Cowboys haven’t lost in Big D since Week 1 of the 2022 season and are currently riding a league-best 13-game win streak at home.
  • Fact: Dallas has outscored their opponents by 145 points in their five home games this season: 205 points for, 60 points against, average margin of victory = 29 points.
  • Fact: The Cowboys have scored 30+ points in 8 of their 11 games, including 40+ in 4 games, and lead the league in scoring at 31.5 points per contest.
  • Fact: Dallas has the league’s 4th-stingiest defense (16.8 points per game) and has only allowed three teams to top the 20-point mark.

Pretty daunting, right?

It gets worse.

  • Fact: Seattle’s offense ranks 21st in yards per game (317.6) and is tied for 18th in points per game (20.8).
  • Fact: The Seahawks’ defense is 23rd in yards allowed (348.5) and 22nd in points allowed (22.6).

And that’s just the super high-level stuff.

The mismatches get worse when we start drilling down.

Or do they?


Comparisons

Geno Smith vs. Dak Prescott is an ugly comparison from Seattle’s perspective:

  • Games: 11 apiece
  • Attempts: 361 for Geno | 370 for Dak
  • Completions: 236 | 259
  • Completion Rate: 65.4% | 70.0%
  • Yards: 2,584 | 2,935
  • TDs v. INTs: 12 TDs, 8 INTs | 23 TDs, 6 INTs
  • QBR: 50.1 | 75.3
  • Passer Rating: 88.2 | 107.4

Note: Dak is No. 2 in Completion Rate, Passer Rating, QBR, and Touchdowns, and No. 6 in Yards. Geno is much lower in every single category.

Running back is basically even though . . .

  • RB1: 10 games, 149 carries, 613 yards (4.1 average), 28 first downs, 6 touchdowns
  • RB2: 11 games, 160 carries, 669 yards (4.2 average), 33 first downs, 4 touchdowns

The wideouts are also something of a push . . .

  • Seattle’s Top 3 WRs: 135 of 216 (62.5%) for 1,659 yards (12.3 per) with 81 first downs and 9 touchdowns
  • Dallas’s Top 3 WRs: 139 of 198 (70.2%) for 1,875 yards (13.5 per) with 88 first downs and 11 touchdowns

Wanna Bet?

Aside from quarterback, here’s where Dallas really separates from Seattle . . .

MVP Odds

  • Dak Prescott, +700 (4th-best odds)
  • Geno Smith, +30,000

Offensive Player of the Year Odds

  • CeeDee Lamb, +1,500 (4th-best odds)
  • Dak Prescott, +10,000
  • Kenneth Walker III, +20,000
  • DK Metcalf, +20,000

Defensive Player of the Year Odds

  • Micah Parsons, +160 (co-leader with Myles Garrett)
  • DaRon Bland, +1,100 (4th-best odds)
  • No Seahawks listed

Coach of the Year Odds

  • Mike McCarthy, +3,500 (12th-best odds)
  • Pete Carroll, +7,500

Note: Devon Witherspoon has the 2nd-best odds to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award (+200), and DraftKings has odds for both Jaxon Smith-Njigba (+20,000) and Zach Charbonnet (+25,000) for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

__________

R5 Cornerbacks

Tariq Riq Woolen and DaRon Bland were selected fourteen picks apart in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Both had stellar rookie seasons, but Woolen got more attention because he started Week 1, finished the season tied for the league lead in interceptions (6), had 19 pass breakups (PBUs), finished third in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, and earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl.

Bland had a quieter rookie season with 8 starts, 5 INTs, and 7 PBUs.

Fast forward to last Thursday . . .

Tariq Woolen, amid an inconsistent and moderately disappointing season, was benched in the first half of Seattle’s showdown with San Francisco.

Or maybe, as Pete Carroll stated the next day, he was removed from the game because of a shoulder injury . . .

Either way, Woolen was on the bench.

That same day, down in Big D, DaRon Bland was making history . . .

Note: None of this is meant as a knock against Woolen; it’s a tip of the cap to Bland.

Here’s another hat-tip:

Per PFF, Bland has (foolishly) been targeted 59 times this year on 386 coverage snaps (15.3% target rate), has allowed 31 receptions (52.5% completion rate), given up 353 yards (11.4 per reception), and allowed 1 touchdown (against Jalen Hurts).

Add 6 pass breakups and an NFL-best 7 interceptions (a record 5 of which were pick-6s) and the net result is a passer rating allowed of 36.9, which leads the league (min. 300 snaps).


Bold Predictions

Here are some bold predictions from our friends over at Blogging The Boys . . .

  1. Cowboys rush for over 150 yards.
  2. DaRon Bland records pick-6 number six.
  3. Cowboys score 40 points.

Normally, I would push back against that, but . . . (a) I’m not sure any of those predictions are particularly bold, and (b) I’m sort of hoping the ‘Boys are as overconfident as the person that penned that article.


Future Coaches?

Here’s a fun side note to tonight’s game . . .

All of the Offensive and Defensive Coordinators have ties to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.

OC Shane Waldron and DC Clint Hurtt are, of course, Seattle’s current coordinators.

Dallas OC Brian Schottenheimer was Seattle’s OC from 2018 to 2020.

The Cowboys’ DC, Dan Quinn, held that same position in Seattle during the Super Bowl seasons (2013 and 2014).

Obviously, one of them is thought of more highly than the others.

(Hint: It’s Dan Quinn.)

Interestingly, various reports have linked at least two of the four to a potential head coaching position in Seattle whenever Pete decides to move on.

If so, tonight’s game could be a mini-audition for Pete’s possible successor.


Keys to the Game

There don’t seem to be many things working in Seattle’s favor tonight.

My top 3:

  1. Blind faith in the team’s ability to right the ship;
  2. A firm belief in “any given Sunday” (or, in this case, Thursday); and
  3. The idea that this Seahawks team could be special if they’d just stop shooting themselves in the foot with a bazooka

None of those are tangible goals though - except maybe the one about the bazooka. So here are my three tangible keys to the game:

One. Score at least 21 points.

Dallas is 8-0 when holding their opponent under 21 points this season. In their three losses, they allowed 28, 42, and 28 points.

It is possible to score on the Cowboys, but Smith & Co. need to do it early and often, and they cannot, CANNOT settle for field goals.

A defensive score (or two) would obviously help.

Two. Avoid throwing toward DaRon Bland and/or double-team Micah Parsons.

Bland leads the league in interceptions (7) and holds the NFL record for pick-6s in a single season (5) so whoever he’s covering should be Read No. 3 or 4 whenever Geno’s looking to pass. And if he gets to Read No. 3 or 4, Geno should probably just throw the ball out of bounds and live to fight another down.

Micah Parsons has 11-1/2 sacks (tied for 6th-most in the league) and it’s pretty easy to argue that sacks aren’t even the biggest impact he makes on a game. Parsons needs to be kept away from Geno Smith. He needs to be kept away from our running backs. Double him. Pretty, pretty please.

Three. Do “better” in money situations.

We’ve all seen the stats that show how bad the Seahawks are on 3rd down and in the red zone . . . on both sides of the ball.

It’s unlikely that they’re suddenly going to become league average (or better).

So be it.

Incremental improvement is a worthy goal.

And if the improvement is well-timed, the Seahawks might steal a win.


For what it’s worth, the Seahawks are 5-3 against the Cowboys under Pete Carroll, including wins in four of the last five games.

Go Hawks!