Thursday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks

Thursday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks

Twelve weeks down, and six more to go in the 2023 NFL season. We’re starting to look forward to the playoffs, and which teams are currently trending to make it. This weeks’ Thursday Night Football throw-down gives us TWO contenders from the NFC, with the Seattle Seahawks (6-5) hosting the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). While these two teams are both currently trending to make the playoffs, they are trending in different directions. While the Cowboys have won five of their last six and are trying to catch the NFC’s best team (Philadelphia Eagles), the Seahawks have lost three of their last four and trying to stay within the Wild Card! Will the ‘Boys burst their bubble? Let’s take a downfield read!

Dallas Cowboys:

The Cowboys offense is led by potential MVP candidate, Dak Prescott, who has put up some pretty impressive passing stats. Prescott is currently second to Brock Purdy in QBR (75.3), Passer Rating (107.4), and Pass Completion (70%), and he’s second to Josh Allen in the NFL in Touchdowns with 23. Dak’s current completion percentage and passer rating are also personal bests in his eighth year in the NFL. Prescott is tied for 19th with Ryan Tannehill in thrown interceptions (6), and tied for 19th in sacks taken (22) with Derek Carr, Jordan Love, and Mac Jones. Maybe Mac Jones isn’t so bad after all? Nah, he’s just been benched too many times.

Dak Prescott

Obviously, Dak hasn’t been doing this by himself; he has one of the best Wide Receivers in the game catching his passes. CeeDee Lamb (who I LOVE having on my fantasy team, btw) has 78 receptions (6th), for 1,066 yards (3rd) for six TDs (tied for 10th), and 373 yards after the catch (7th). Lamb is one of only five wide receivers to have over 1,000 yards this season. Prescott’s secondary pass catchers are Wide Receiver, Brandin Cooks with 33 receptions for 452 yards, and Tight End, Jake Ferguson who has 40 catches for 421 yards. They both have four TDs each though, which means Dak spreads it around when they get to the red zone.

Running Back, Tony Pollard has been the quintessential Swiss army knife for Dallas in the backfield. Pollard has 669 rushing yards (11th) and four TDs, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, but only 60.8 yards per game (18th). Tony has just as many receptions as Cooks and Ferguson with 39 catches for 233 yards. Pollard doesn’t have any receiving TDs, but he does have three fumbles (one lost) on the year. RB2, Rico Dowdle, who has 246 rushing yards, also has eleven receptions with two of those being for TDs. Translation: If Pollard is in the backfield near the goal line, it’s a run. If it’s Dowdle, play the pass.

Defensively, Dallas has a lot of playmakers. Linebacker Micah Parsons leads to Cowboys with 11.5 sacks (tied for 6th in the NFL), and 13 Tackles for Loss (5th). While Micah takes care of business behind the line of scrimmage, Cornerback, DaRon Bland takes care of it down field. Bland has 13 Passes Defended (tied for 5th in the NFL), and seven interceptions (1st), in which five of them have been returned for touchdowns (NFL Record). To put that into perspective a little more, Cornerback Kenny Moore II with the Indianapolis Colts, has the second most interceptions returned this season, with two. 

DaRon Bland

On the other side of Bland is Cornerback, Stephon Gilmore who has ten passes defended (tied for 10th in the NFL) with two INTs.

Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks re-signed Geno Smith in the offseason hoping that he would emulate his Comeback Player of the Year performance in 2022. Unfortunately, so far, he’s not. Geno has completed 65.4% of his passes (19th) for 2,935 passing yards (15th) for 12 TDs (tied for 19th). He’s thrown eight INTs (tied for 11th most) and taken 27 sacks (10th most). Geno has a QBR of 50.1 (20th behind Jordan Love), and a Passer Rating of 88.2 (19th behind Derek Carr). By comparison, his 2022 completion rating was 69.8%, with a QBR of 62.8, and Passer Rating of 100.9; much better than this year. After drafting Wide Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round this year, one would think his numbers would have gotten better.

Speaking of WRs, Tyler Lockett leads the way for the Seahawks with 54 receptions (tied for 25th in the NFL), for 575 yards (36th) with four TDs (tied for 30th).

 Wide Receiver DK Metcalf isn’t too far behind Lockett in receptions with 43, and actually has more receiving yards with 678 (28th). Tyler also leads the team in receiving TDs with four, which, as a reminder, is how many the Cowboy’s Cooks and Ferguson each have. Smith-Njigba only has 38 receptions for 406 receiving yards, but 233 of those yards were accumulated after the catch (YAC), which is best on the Seahawks. Needless to say, this “three-headed monster” isn’t very scary for opposing defenses.

Second year running back, Kenneth Walker III is on pace to do what he statistically did last season. Currently, Walker has 613 rushing yards (16th) for 4.1 yards per carry, and six TDs (tied for eighth in the NFL). Last year he rushed for 1,050 yards and this year he’s on pace for 1,042 rushing yards. At least he’s more consistent than his QB. Walker already has more receiving yards this year than last year, which isn’t a great sign considering who they have at WR. Tight End Noah Fant has been Noah-where to be found this year.

The Seahawks have been as mediocre on defense as they have been on offense. There are a few neon green bright spots though. Inside Linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 113 total tackles (tied for 6th in the NFL), and has 2.5 sacks with five tackles for a loss. Fellow Inside Linebacker, Jordyn Brooks is right behind Wagner with 95 total tackles (tied for 15th in the NFL), seven tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, an interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a partridge in a pear tree. They are undoubtedly the second best ILB duo behind the Ravens’ Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen. 

Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks

Seattle’s Linebacker Boye Mafe also has seven tackles for a loss, and also leads the team with seven sacks (tied for 20th in the league). Rookie Cornerback Devon Witherspoon rounds out the highlighters with 14 passes defended (4th), three sacks and one pick.

Prediction Time!

On paper, this looks like it’s going to be a blow-out in favor of the Cowboys. Offensively, Dallas ranks first in points per game (31.5), fourth in passing yards per game (262.4), and fifth in overall yards per game (377). Defensively, the Cowboys are second in passing yards allowed per game (167.2), third in overall yards allowed per game (276.3), and fourth in points allowed per game (16.8). They’re also fifth in turnover differential at +7. Seattle’s offense is tied for 18th in points scored per game (20.8), 21st in yards per game (317.6), and they’re the seventh worst in rushing yards per game (95.8). Defensively, the Seahawks are 22nd in both points allowed per game (22.6) and passing yards allowed per game (230.7), and they’re 23rd in overall yards allowed per game (348.5).

Despite this glaring David vs. Goliath match-up, I still believe in two things. First, is that it matters WHERE you play. The weather for Thursday Night Football in Seattle is NOT the same as Sunday afternoon weather in Dallas. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy in Seattle for their game, and that’s the kind of atmosphere that also brings out the “12th man”. Second, I believe that WHO you play matters. The Cowboys have had the EASIEST schedule to date playing teams with a winning percentage of .384. They have yet to beat a team that has a winning record. Dallas also does not play well on the road, losing at Philly, San Fran, and even losing to the Cardinals in Arizona. For that reason, I am picking a HUGE upset: Cowboys 20, Seahawks 21. Thanks for the “read”!

Head Coach Pete Carroll


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