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Game Notes

The Seattle Seahawks Remain Critical To Recent Cowboys History

Kevin Brady



Tony Romo, Seahawks

In the NFL, what constitutes as a rivalry?

At the college ranks it's fairly obvious - you play each other just about every year, your schools are typically close geographically, and the students consume extra alcohol when the other school is on the schedule.

In the NFL, and in all professional sports leagues, the rivalry lines are typically blurred. Outside of your own division it is rare to see a team often enough to develop a "hatred." It's also rare to play a team during enough of your franchise's defining moments to have a series of memorable games against one another.

I don't know if I'd call what the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks have a rivalry, but they certainly share their fair amount of recent history.

Let's start in 2012.Sean Lee, Seahawks, Golden Tate

Week two of the NFL season, a season which opened with a Dallas Cowboys victory over the rival New York Giants. It was another one of those Tony Romo/Eli Manning battles, in which Dallas went on the road and defeated the defending champions on their ring night. Things felt good for the Cowboys, and fans were believing this was the year they took the leap from 8-8 to double digit wins and division champs.

Then you had the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle hadn't been all that impressive in recent years, and they were starting a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. They weren't expected to be better than the Cowboys that season, but on that day in 2012 it could be argued an NFC power was born.

The Seahawks absolutely smoked the Cowboys, embarrassing them and defeating them 27-7. It was the type of loss that forces you to re-evaluate everything you have going on within your franchise. Seattle went on to beat Washington in Wilson's first ever playoff game, and would win the Super Bowl just one year later.

Now, let's re-visit 2014.

Cowboys Blog - ....and there's nothing you can do about it.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In some ways the roles from 2012 were reversed. While the Cowboys were off to a hot start none of the national media was ready to admit they were a legitimate contender. They thought for sure that when Dallas went back to Seattle for the first time since they were decimated in 2012, the Cowboys would be exposed as frauds.

Instead, the Cowboys punched the defending champs in the mouth right in front of the vaunted 12th man. DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys offensive line controlled the game, while Tony Romo made some critical throws when needed in order to get the win.

It was the game which validated the 2014 Cowboys to many and made people believe in what head coach Jason Garrett and company were building down in Dallas.

But then there was the 2016 preseason.

It was supposed to be a fun day. The debut of first round running back Ezekiel Elliott and our first extended look at quarterback Tony Romo since his season ending injury in 2015. But on the very first drive of the game defensive end Cliff Avril dragged Romo down from behind and changed the course of the Cowboys forever.

Once again, both the present and the future of the Dallas Cowboys were changed against the Seattle Seahawks.

Dak Prescott entered the game in relief of Romo, and to the surprise of everyone, he never left. Prescott is now the franchise quarterback of the Cowboys, and without that Avril hit it is fair to wonder what the team would look like today.

This week the Cowboys play yet another defining game against the Seattle Seahawks - Ezekiel Elliott's return from suspension. With both teams at 8-6 this Sunday is virtually an elimination game, and is just the kind of game which could propel the Cowboys to one of those magical postseason runs.

Of course, there is a lot that has to happen between now and then for this to be the case, but it would be nice for Dallas to create some positive memories against Seattle for a change this Sunday.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.

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Game Notes

NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins

Brian Martin



Will Dallas' Recent Offensive Success Continue Against Washington?

The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.

I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.

As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.

Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.

Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.

I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.

I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.

Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?

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Game Notes

Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?

Kevin Brady



Dak Prescott, Redskins

There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.

Veteran playmakers like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are no longer around, Tony Romo lost his starting quarterback job, and Dallas has jumped from league best to worst to average seemingly every week.

One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.

In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.

Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.

So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?

Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.

Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.

To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.

Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.

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