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When the NFL playoffs approach, no one ever wants to play teams that have good defenses and effective running games. This year, the NFC features three of these types of teams: the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. Luckily for the other NFC teams in the postseason, the Seahawks and Cowboys will have to play each other this weekend and one of these dangerous teams will be eliminated.
Keys To The Game
The Dallas Cowboys come into the playoffs having finally found their offense. Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing this year, despite being sat in week 17 for rest purposes. While Elliott got some much needed rest, the Cowboys played to win against the New York Giants even though they couldn’t improve their playoff seeding regardless of the outcome. It looks like it paid off, as Dak Prescott and the rest of the offense looked sharp, hurting the Giants for deep pass plays.
Prescott made plays with both his arms and his legs, which Dallas will certainly need against a stout Seattle defense that will pack the box against Elliott. Dallas should be more concerned with their defense, which the Giants put up 35 points against, without Odell Beckham Jr. That simply won’t cut it against Seattle.
Seattle meanwhile, should have been in a rebuilding year. The “Legion of Boom” era was over. Yet here they are, back in the postseason. That’s thanks to the terrific play of Russell Wilson, who once again is being underrated. The emergence of running back Chris Carson, who has become as a steadying presence in the back half of the season, gives this team much needed balance.
The Seahawks will look to soften the Dallas’ defense with a heavy dose of Carson, which they hope will set up some Wilson magic. Defensively, it may no longer be the Legion of Boom but they know how to stifle an offense. Seattle will hope to make Dallas abandon the running game and dare Prescott to beat them.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the x-factor is linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. The rookie out of Boise State has been terrific this season. If Dallas wants to win, he’ll need to hold his own matching wits with Wilson.
For the Seattle Seahawks, the x-factor is wide receiver Tyler Lockett. While Doug Baldwin is Wilson’s go-to target, Lockett is the deep threat. If the Dallas defense starts cheating up against Carson, Lockett may burn them for chunk gains.
Dallas may have ridden a late season hot streak to get here but their defense is trending downwards as of late. It will be a close game but until proven otherwise, trust Russell Wilson over Dak Prescott late in the game. Seattle gets a tough road victory to advance.