American Football

Cowboys vs Seahawks: Writer predictions for Thursday Night Football

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NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Do you think Dallas will get credit for beating a team with a winning record if they beat Seattle?

For the second week in a row, the Cowboys are playing on a Thursday. This time, it’s Thursday Night Football, and they’re hosting the Seahawks. After playing four of their last five games against teams that had a losing record coming into the game, Seattle enters this one at 6-5, offering the Cowboys a chance to score their most impressive win of the year.

The Seahawks have stumbled recently, but they began the season 5-2, with wins over the Lions and Browns, and head coach Pete Carroll has rarely been an easy out. Carroll is 6-3 against the Cowboys throughout his career as a head coach, which makes this team dangerous despite coming in as nine point underdogs. Does any of that concern our writers though?

When Seattle has the ball

Get to third down

The Seahawks have struggled on offense this year, not performing as well as they did last year. Much of that has to do with their poor third-down performance. Seattle is one of the best teams at moving the sticks on early downs, ranking fourth in EPA/play and offensive success rate on first and second down. However, on third downs they’re 30th in EPA/play and 31st in offensive success rate. Seattle is also 30th in third down conversion rate.

That said, the Seahawks are seeing the fourth-fewest third down attempts all year, which has helped. But they’re facing one of the best third-down defenses in the league this week: Dallas is yielding the second-lowest third-down conversion rate on the year. The Cowboys defense also ranks second in EPA/play allowed on first and second downs. If they can consistently force Seattle into third-down situations, they’ll be setting themselves up for success.

When Dallas has the ball

Exploit the underneath of the defense

The Cowboys have been very aggressive with their downfield passing game lately, and that was on full display on Thanksgiving with Dak Prescott attempting a season high 11 attempts of 20+ yards. Perhaps that was an intentional ploy to further stretch out this Seattle defense, which is especially susceptible to underneath throws.

This Seahawks defense has one of the lowest average depths of target on the year and they’re in the top 10 in both yards after catch allowed and missed tackles. Their linebacker duo of Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner have been targeted an awful lot, and they’re giving up a lot of yards. Look for the Cowboys to utilize a lot of quick, underneath throws – likely to CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson – to attack the weakness of this defense, knowing they can go for the deep shot if and when the defense starts to cheat up out of necessity.

Now onto the predictions from your BTB writers…

Tom Ryle (7-4):

The Cowboys have put together a three game winning streak that in some ways may be the most dominant ever. I really can’t see the Seahawks as the team that is going to end it, as they have now lost three of their last four. However, two of those losses were against the Ravens and the 49ers, a couple of the league’s powerhouses.

I still think Dallas wins by at least two touchdowns, but like the Commanders game, it won’t be put away until the fourth quarter.

Tony Catalina (10-1):

The Cowboys got through the “soft portion” of their schedule unscathed. They did what they were supposed to do and now it gets real. People seem to be down on Seattle as of late but I think they are a dangerous team with talent all over the place. With that being said, if the Cowboys simply just execute and not hurt themselves, they should win convincingly.

I leave room for tomfoolery here so I think it’ll be closer than it should be but the Cowboys find a way to win, 24-20.

Matt Holleran (9-2):

I’m not nearly as worried about this game as others seem to be. The Seahawks defense really struggles to stop the run against good teams. They’ve played four playoff teams and have given up over 180 rushing Y/G in those four matchup.

I think Dallas will be able to have plenty of success on the ground which will lead to some successful shots deep down the field. Dallas’ defense gets two takeaways in the second half that open this one up and they walk out with another big win.

Give me the Cowboys, 30-17.

Brandon Loree (7-3):

The Cowboys are looking to extend their home win streak to 14 dating back to last season. They could really solidify their spot for the 5th seed if they beat Seattle, who’s also fighting for a wild card berth.

The one area I could see the Dallas defense struggling in is defending Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the slot and stopping a physical runner with Zach Charbonnet. If they can apply pressure on Geno Smith, who’s banged up right now, and force turnovers, Dallas should win this game no problem.

I believe it will be a close game, but I’ll say the Cowboys win 24-20.

Matthew Lenix (8-3):

The Dallas Cowboys have won 13 consecutive home games. On Thursday, they face a Seattle Seahawks team that’s not that good defensively against the run or pass.

Dak Prescott and the passing game along with Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle on the ground should feast, while the Seahawks 21st ranked offense will have a tough time getting anything going against the Cowboys third ranked defensive unit.

Cowboys win 35-17.

Mike Poland (8-3):

The Cowboys offense have now scored 10 rushing touchdowns this season, eight-most in the NFL. On the opposite side, the Seahawks defense has allowed 14 rushing touchdowns this season, fourth-most in the NFL.As for the Seahawks offense, they have thrown for a total of 12 touchdowns, fourth-fewest in the league. The Cowboys defense have allowed the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns, with 14.

Cowboys win 31-10.

Brian Martin (8-3):

With the home-field advantage this week, I fully expect the Cowboys to take care of business Thursday night against the Seahawks. They’re an entirely different team playing at home than they are on the road and have built up quite a bit of confidence in themselves over the past several weeks. Because of all that, I’m predicting the fourth consecutive “W” for the Cowboys.

Cowboys win 37-17.

RJ Ochoa (9-2):

The Cowboys and Seahawks appear headed in wrong directions right now and while anything is possible I have a difficult time seeing Dallas not coming out of this one on top.

I’ll take the Cowboys as they are far more used to this back to back Thursday stretch, somewhere along the lines of 30-20.

David Howman (7-4):

The Seahawks picked the wrong time to stumble, as their schedule has become significantly more difficult. They just got overmatched by the 49ers on a short week, and are now pretty banged up heading into a Thursday night matchup with a red hot Cowboys team that dominates at home.

I expect the Seahawks to start out strong offensively, moving the ball and extending drives. But I can’t see their defense holding up against Dak Prescott and this Texas Coast offense, outside of the ceremonial three-and-out to start the game. As the game wears on, and Geno Smith has to start playing hero ball, Seattle will get into trouble against this opportunistic defense.

Cowboys win 38-24.

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