There are certain players each and every week around the NFL who are capable of taking over a game nearly all by themselves and strangely enough a lot of these players happen to be on playoff teams. I personally identify these players as “game wreckers” and I believe there are a few the Dallas Cowboys will see against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round Saturday night.
If the Dallas Cowboys want to advance in the playoffs beyond the Wild Card game, they absolutely have to contain these three Seahawks. Each player I’m about to talk about played a big role in Seattle’s victory over the Cowboys in Week 3 earlier this season and could do the same Saturday night. It’s imperative for that not to happen if Dallas wants to keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive.
QB, Russell Wilson
As Russell Wilson goes, so does the Seattle Seahawks. That is why the Dallas Cowboys have to contain Wilson Saturday night in the Wild Card round if they want to have any chance at keeping the Super Bowl run alive. Limiting his success gives the Cowboys their best chance at advancing further in the playoffs.
The Cowboys actually did a pretty good job at containing Russell Wilson earlier this season in Week 3. He only completed 16 of 26 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns through the air and had two rushing attempts for -1 yards on the ground. These are all numbers Dallas’ defense would love to replicate Saturday.
If the Cowboys defense can keep Russell Wilson in check, it should greatly improve their odds of being the victor and advancing further into the playoffs. Luckily, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are playing at a really high level right now and should harass Wilson relentlessly all night. They’re turning into a dynamic duo.
RB, Chris Carson
Seattle’s Running Back Chris Carson is one of two RBs who have rushed for 100 yards this season against the Dallas Cowboys. The other was Marlon Mack of the Indianapolis Colts in a game the Cowboys for some reason or another decided not to put their best foot forward so to speak. Containing Carson though is the best way to keep him from becoming a game wrecker.
In Week 3, Carson rushed for 102 yards on 32 carries and added another 22 yards on two catches through the air. He has been a focal point of the Seahawks offense this season, which has helped them control the clock much like the Cowboys do with Ezekiel Elliott. Shutting down the running game is without a doubt a top priority for Dallas.
The best way to shut down Seattle’s rushing attack is to maintain gap assignments and not allow yards after contact. That means they have to do a much better job of tackling then they’ve done the past few weeks. If they can accomplish these few things, it should limit Carson’s effectiveness and shut down the Seahawks running game.
WR, Tyler Lockett
Even though he’s somehow flown on the radar this season, Seattle’s Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett has become one of the most dangerous pass catchers in the NFL. He’s averaged nearly 17 yards per catch this year and scored 10 touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys know all too well what he can do, which is why they must contain him to keep him from becoming a game wrecker.
In their previous matchup in Week 3, Lockett only had four catches, but he turned them into 77 yards receiving and a touchdown. His speed and ability to pick up yards after the catch is something that is going to challenge the Cowboys secondary once again.
I believe the Cowboys will have a much better game plan to contain Lockett this time around. Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie are both playing at a really high level right now and will be coached up to know the danger that #16 presents. They may have been caught a little offguard earlier in the season, but they are fully aware of him now.