Week One is officially in the books, and the season is under way.
The Seahawks are coming off a close loss to the Cardinals, and will be looking to rebound at home in one of the loudest stadiums in the league.
The Cowboys are coming off a big opening night win against division rival and Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and are looking to maintain their perfect record.
I previewed both these teams last week- you can find the Cowboys here, and the Seahawks here.
Every game winds up with unexpected heroes or factors, and this week is no exception. For starters, the Seahawks have to of the best (and most physical) starting corners in the league. Richard Sherman, the smaller of the two, measures in at 6' 3" and 195 pounds, with a 4.54 40 yard dash. Brandon Browner is 6'4" and 221 pounds, although he is slower with a 4.63 40 yard dash. That is why...
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin will combine for LESS than 100 yards.
Sherman and Browner have the size and athleticism to match up with Bryant and Austin, and shut them down. They managed to hold Larry Fitzgerald, one of the greatest wideouts in the league, to 63 yards on 4 catches. I wouldn't count on either Austin or Bryant to fare any better today.
Kevin Ogletree shouldn't have a big game either. Marcus Trufant has been a longtime starter for the Seahawks, but had his season cut short last year by injury. Now, he's the slot corner, and should match up better against Ogletree than the Giants' Michael Coe and Justin Tryon (both of whom were only playing because of injury).
The Cowboys do have too many weapons to not get someone open, which is why...
Jason Witten WILL break 100 yards and score a TD in his first big game since last year.
The Seahawks like to play tough, physical coverage, and use the blitz to bring down the quarterback or force a bad throw before any receivers break open. Those blitzes should leave space over the middle for Witten to work, and Romo is going to need his security blanket in a game where he will face lots of pressure. Expect a lot of dumpoffs to DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones, too.
The Cowboys also like to bring pressure, and Russell Wilson will get hurried or sacked repeatedly during the game. However, part of why Pete Carroll chose the rookie QB over free agent sensation Matt Flynn is because he is very mobile, which is why...
Russell Wilson will RUN for 60 yards and four first downs.
Just as Romo stayed on the move last week against the Giants, Wilson will be on the move against the Cowboys. He wound up running eight times last week against the Cardinals, and although he only gained 20 yards, he did pick up two first downs. The Cowboys have a tougher front seven than the Cardinals, and should get in the backfield more often on passing downs- leaving Wilson more space to run when pressured.
Both teams are built around solid coverage on the back end, and pressure on the QB. The offensive philosophies differ, however, with the Cowboys being more talented on offense, and more balanced, while the Seahawks should be a little more focused on their run game, since their best weapon is RB Marshawn Lynch.
This will be another tough defensive battle, just like last week's games for these teams. I expect to see a lot of run plays. In the end, the noisy homefield crowd will cause countless penalties, especially by last week's zeroes, Tyron Smith and Doug Free, and Romo won't have anyone to throw to for long first downs late. The Seahawks will pull their first win of the season, 17-13, largely because of their home crowd.
I could see the Cowboys pulling the win, but one of two things would have to happen in order to silence the crowd- either DeMarco Murray would have to break off a couple of big gains en route to a 150+ yard day, or Jason Garrett will have to out-coach Pete Carroll and find openings to exploit in the Seattle defense. The Cowboys certainly have enough weapons to find or create openings in any defense.
It's possible, but unlikely. When it come to the score, I hope I am wrong.
The author hates having to make this pick, but as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often said through Sherlock Holmes, theories should be changed to fit the evidence, not the other way around.
You can call him a pretend Cowboy fan for not blindly picking them to win on Twitter (@RGDSports) and Facebook (RGDSports@yahoo.com), and claim you have a right to his Witten jersey because you know what team is on his hat.