The pieces are in place for an instant classic between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday. Both teams have faced each other three times since 2017, including a 24-22 playoff showdown which the Cowboys won while the Seahawks have taken two wins in the regular season.
But this time, things are different for the two teams. This time, it feels bigger.
On one hand, Dak Prescott is playing his first season under a head coach not named Jason Garrett. With Mike McCarthy and Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore at the wheel, talks about a Super Bowl contending team have surrounded America’s Team since last January.
Prescott’s wide receivers unit is widely considered one of the NFL’s finest. He’s coming off of a remarkable performance in which he led the Cowboys to a 40-39 win over the Atlanta Falcons by scoring four total touchdowns and passing for 450 yards. Although he scored three of his touchdowns through the ground, his performance could’ve been his best ever as a passer.
On the other hand, Russell Wilson was finally handed the keys to the Seattle Seahawks’ offense. All offseason we talked about Pete Carroll being a “establish the run” truther. We complained and complained about the fact that the Seahawks should be a pass-first team since they have one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
Fortunately for Seattle fans, Carroll listened. The Seahawks have been way more aggressive on first and second down by letting Russell throw the ball and boy, has #3 taken advantage. Through week 2, Wilson has completed 52-of-63 pass attempts for 610 yards (9.68 yards per attempt) and NINE touchdowns.
Russell Wilson is the FIRST QB in NFL history to…throw for 9+ TDswith fewer than 17 incompletionsin his first 2 gamesWilson destroyed the mark, throwing 9 TDs with just 11 incompletions on 63 attempts (82.5% completions) pic.twitter.com/K1oM4noVv4
While Patrick Mahomes is the face of the NFL right now, Wilson is on a mission to let us know he hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, with the Seahawks betting on the passing game this year, we might be in for Russell’s best season to date. And that’s scary.
When the Cowboys’ secondary faces Seattle’s passing game, it’s hard to imagine them finding an answer. Rookie Trevon Diggs is rising as the #1 cornerback on the team but he’s far from great. Chidobe Awuzie is solid but he’s not consistent enough (not to mention he hurt his hamstring versus the Falcons) and with Anthony Brown on Injured Reserve, there’s just not much to feel good about the defensive backfield.
The pass rush in Dallas has also been a disappointment despite the signings of Everson Griffen and Aldon Smith. If you look at Next Gen Stats’ pressure rate, you’ll find the Cowboys are barely above the league average. This could improve as the season goes on and the defense plays games in which they’re not behind on the scoreboard right out of the gate.
If the Cowboys are going to beat the 2-0 Seahawks, it’ll likely have to be in a high-scoring shootout between two great quarterbacks. Can Dak Prescott’s offense outduel Russell Wilson’s on week 3? If Dallas comes out turning the ball over in four of the first five drives like they did against the Falcons, I don’t think so. Wilson & Co. won’t let that happen.
But if the Cowboys take care of the ball, they should have a legitimate shot at upsetting the Seahawks on the road. Prescott was near-perfect after that ugly start to the game and carved up the Falcons defense with different receivers.
Amari Cooper racked up 100 yards on six catches, CeeDee Lamb caught six balls for 106 yards while Dalton Schultz caught a touchdown pass as he had nine receptions for 88 yards. Michael Gallup’s numbers came in at only two catches, but one of them was a huge play in the team’s final touchdown drive.
This offense, despite the early turnovers, turned into the unit we all expected to see in 2020 on route to a 40-point performance. And this is without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. With a top receiving unit, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys should keep the game close against a Seahawks’ pass defense that has ranked 32nd in the NFL while allowing 8.64 yards per attempt.
As Dak Prescott continues to solidify himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he has a big chance of engineering an MVP moment by leading his team to victory on the road against Russell Wilson in what could become an instant-classic shootout.