Two teams that have been up and down in 2011 square off this Sunday afternoon at Dallas' Cowboys Stadium in a 1:00 PM contest. Visiting Seattle (2-5) comes in on a 2-game losing streak, while the home-standing Cowboys (3-4), losers of three of their last four, are both in desperate need of a victory. The opening NFL odds favor Dallas by -12 1/2 points at home.
The Seahawks were blasted at home this past Sunday at home, 34-12 by surprising Cincinnati. The loss spoiled a semi-successful return for Seattle QB Tavaris Jackson, recovering from a pectoral injury. Replacing the ineffective Charlie Whitehurst in the 2nd quarter, he wound up connecting on 21 of 40 passes for 323 yards, but that was essentially all the Seahawks had offensively. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle's featured back, carried 16 times for a measly 24 yards as the running game could amass only 61 yards on 20 carries on the afternoon. Penalties also doomed Seattle, being flagged 11 times for 80 yards, and they were successful on just 5 of 15 third-down attempts. Other than Jackson's numbers, the only other bright spot for the Seahawks offensively were WRs Sydney Rice and Ben Obamanu combining for 209 yards on 11 receptions.
Seattle's defense, the strong point of the team so far, was victimized by the Bengals rookie pass-catch combination of QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green as the upstart Bengals improved to 5-2. Special teams failures, as well as shoddy pass defense contributed to Seattle's defeat. Linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill are the top tacklers for the Seahawks, while S Kam Chancellor and rookie CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are all rising stars.
A much-anticipated showdown on Sunday night between NFC Conference rivals Dallas and Philadelphia failed to materialize as the Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back, winning 34-7 over the unpredictable Cowboys. One telling statistic was time of possession, as the Eagles totally dominated, holding the ball for 42:09 to the Cowboys' 17:51. The Eagles also scored on their first 6 possessions, essentially having the game well-in-hand by midway through the 2nd quarter. Dallas QB Tony Romo connected on just 18 of 35 passes for 203 yards, and was constantly on the run from the Philadelphia pass rush. Rookie RB DeMarco Murray, coming off a franchise-record 253 yards the week before against St. Louis, gained just 74 yards on 8 carries as the Cowboys early deficit caused them to largely abandon the ground game in an attempt to get back into the game.
Dallas' defense, which had been very strong in recent games, was victimized by Allpro QB Michael Vick (21 of 28, 279 yards, 2 TDs) and RB LeSean McCoy's 185 yards on 30 carries and 2 more scores. McCoy's rushing total was the sixth-best in Eagle history. Perhaps a big factor in the offensive explosion can be attributed to Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's trash-talk directed towards Philadelphia, most notably his classifying the Eagles as the "all-hype" team. The Eagles responded with 495 yards of offense against the NFL's 7th-ranked defense. Despite the one-sided contest, Cowboys Allpro LB DeMarcus Ware collected 4 sacks, giving him 12 on the season. Standout LB Sean Lee suffered a broken wrist in the game, and the team's leading tackler is listed as day-to-day.
Dallas has a history of bouncing back strong after humiliating defeats, and the scenario appears favorable for that to occur once more. However, Seattle has also shown a penchant for surprising the experts, and with Jackson back under center, they should be able to pass effectively. RB Marshawn Lynch's showing up would also be of great benefit to Seattle's otherwise lackluster ground game. This game is a tough one to call, owing to both of the participants being so inconsistent and with unproven players in key positions.
|NFL OFFENSIVE RANKINGS||TOTAL||Passing||Rushing|
|NFL DEFENSIVE RANKINGS||TOTAL||Passing||Rushing|