If you used “Super Bowl LI” and “Dallas Cowboys” in the same sentence following Tony Romo’s preseason injury in Seattle, chances are you weren’t having a very serious conversation.
Now, the most improbable pair of rookies in NFL history – Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the leading Pro Bowl vote receivers – have Super Bowl talks for America’s Team as serious as ever.
With a chance to wrap up the NFC East – and potentially more if they get help from the Bears and Packers – against the Giants this week, Fox Sports’ Cameron DaSilva ranked the seven toughest things standing in the way of a Cowboys Super Bowl.
What’s standing in Dallas’ way?
After reading through the first six items on the list, which includes everything from Jerry Jones (who may theoretically call for Tony Romo to enter mid-playoff game) to a “reeling” secondary that expects Morris Claiborne back before the postseason, the biggest obstacle in the way of the Cowboys are the Seattle Seahawks.
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks are certainly coming into form, winners of the NFC in two of the previous three seasons. While the Cowboys eleven game winning streak has made it difficult for anyone to deny that they are the best team in the NFC, the Seahawks have ripped off wins in four of their last five – coming off of a 40-7 drubbing of the Panthers at home.
As DaSilva elaborates:
The best team standing in Dallas’ way for a Super Bowl win is the Seattle Seahawks. Not the Patriots, not the Falcons, not the Broncos. The Seahawks. Dallas is built upon running the ball and protecting the football on offense. What does Seattle do extremely well? Stop the run and create turnovers. That’s exactly why the Seahawks pose the biggest threat to the Cowboys’ playoff chances. And more likely than not, these two teams will meet in the NFC Championship game, considering the rest of the conference is mostly underwhelming.
Seattle doesn’t have a great offensive line. Actually, it’s one of the worst in football; so is Dallas’ pass rush. That gives Seattle the advantage in that department, while the Seahawks’ stout defensive line matches up well with Dallas’ offensive line. Think about the way Minnesota’s defense caused problems for the Cowboys. The Vikings created turnovers and hounded Prescott while playing a boring style of offense. Seattle does the same except their offense is far superior with weapons all over the place. The Seahawks could easily knock Dallas out of the playoffs if they meet.
While it is important to note that the Seattle defense excels at forcing turnovers, Prescott has only throws two passes to the opposing team all season, and the Seahawks are now without the services of Safety Earl Thomas.
Seahawks S Earl Thomas will be out for season and will not return for postseason, no matter how far Seattle advances.
To me, the question for the Cowboys’ postseason success is simple. Can ANYONE stop this offense? Seattle will give it their all should these two teams meet up, but they may be surprised when they end up on the wrong side of a high-scoring game that features the best running back they’ll see all season in Ezekiel Elliott.
Tim Hightower, David Johnson, and Carlos Hyde have all already put up 100+ yards rushing performances against the “Legion of Boom”.
So…anyone else want to start planning a trip to Houston?