The book on the Seattle Seahawks has been about the same each year during the Russell Wilson era. They want to run the ball, play defense, and let Wilson pull a couple of magical plays out of his hat to save the game when things get tough.
It’s worked well for them overall, even as many would argue it isn’t a sustainable formula for winning in the NFL. Still, they sit at 10-6 and are coming to Dallas to face the Cowboys this week on Wildcard Weekend.
Another consistent with the Seahawks? They give up a lot of sacks. I mean, a lot of sacks. In fact, they’ve allowed 51 sacks this season and a lofty 6 a week ago against the Arizona Cardinals. Protecting Wilson is an issue for Seattle, and his style of play doesn’t help things in that area either.
On the other side sit the Cowboys, who boast a defensive front seven many teams around the league envy over weekly. Though their sack totals are not gaudy, with just 39 as a team, Dallas’ edge personnel has the ability to wreck a game at any moment.
DeMarcus Lawrence has become one of the best, and most consistent, defensive ends in football, making splash play after splash play against both the run and pass. Randy Gregory is putting all together as well, and has become a legit threat as a pass rusher opposite of Lawrence.
The key to containing Russell Wilson, though, often has to do with the interior of your defense. While their names aren’t flashy, Maliek Collins and Antwuan Woods have been as good as anyone on the interior as of late. Plus, if healthy, Tyrone Crawford is having a career season on the defensive line operating in multiple roles.
Then of course there is the young duo of linebackers in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, who lead a run defense which should be able to bottle up Chris Carson and company on Saturday night.
The Seahawks are a tough match-up for any team, after all they are in the playoffs for a reason, but Dallas matches up favorably in multiple areas against them. They must exploit these match ups across the offensive line, and make life as difficult as possible for star quarterback Russell Wilson. If they can execute this, they should have success on Saturday night.