Last October, the Cowboys delivered perhaps their most impressive performance of the 2014 season with a stunning upset of the defending champion Seahawks in Seattle.
At 2-4, trying to end a four-game slide without quarterback Tony Romo (fractured collarbone), can the Cowboys beat a Seahawks team (3-4) that's also hungry to keep pace in their own division?
Here are the gut feelings from staff writers Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
Nick Eatman:Why not? I know it's easy to look at the Matt Cassel-Seattle matchup and lean toward the two-time defending NFC champs. But just like it's not easy to win five straight games in this league, losing five straight doesn't happen often either. So if Dez Bryant indeed plays this game, I'm going with the Cowboys. I think they figure out a way to get some turnovers on Russell Wilson. Stopping Marshawn Lynch is obviously the key, but I think you'll see some fluky plays bounce the Cowboys' way. On offense, Dez won't be 100 percent, but his presence alone should with the flow of the offense. I see Terrance Williams having a few big plays. Both Darren McFadden and Christine Michael will be effective and the overall energy of the building will help generate enough positive vibes. Yes, the Cowboys are reeling right now, but let's not forget this is a 3-4 football team coming to town who hasn't scored a ton of points this year. Give me a Dez-playing Cowboys team to win 27-17.
Rob Phillips: Outside Valley Ranch, the overwhelming feeling this week seems to be Seattle has the clear advantage Sunday -- kind of like last year, except the rationale then was the Seahawks' air of invincibility at home. That's enough for me to pick Dallas at AT&T Stadium this week, even though I'm hesitant to do so in every game until Tony Romo returns, because his absence becomes more magnified each week. Just when you have this league figured out, though, the law of averages wins. If Dez Bryant, if active, can give the offense an outside presence even on a pitch count, all the positives from last week – the run game and the physical tone Darren McFadden set, specifically – can continue. The game will be decided by the defense, though, and whether they can keep Russell Wilson from moving around too much. Oh, and whether Matt Cassel can protect the ball. I'm expecting a crisper performance from the veteran quarterback, and for the second straight week, I think this defensive takeaway drought ends. Law of averages, right? Well, the Cowboys should hope so. 23-20, Dallas, in a game that's critical when you think about a potential head-to-head playoff tiebreaker down the road.
Bryan Broaddus: Seattle's offensive line has given up 31 sacks through seven games, and with a mobile quarterback such as Russell Wilson, that is a staggering number. The Seahawks' biggest fear has to be if they get put in some long-yardage situations and then have to face this Dallas pass rush. My gut feeling for this game is that the Seahawks work extremely hard to try and establish their ground game with Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. Teams that have pounded the ball at the Cowboys have had their share of success, and I believe Sunday will be no different. If this defense doesn't get bodies to the ball and tackle better than they have at the point of attack, it is going to be a long afternoon. The Seahawks are not going to put Russell Wilson in harm's way if possible, and successfully running the ball with Lynch and Rawls does just that. Seattle 24, Dallas 20.
David Helman: I honestly don't feel as pessimistic about this team as a lot of people seem to. Yes, they lost to the Giants, and they've lost four in a row. But last weekend was as good as the offense has looked since Tony Romo got hurt, and the defense wasn't so much the problem as the bad turnover margin. That said, I can't bring myself to pick them to beat a talented team like Seattle without a little more evidence. Based on what their rush defense has looked like this season, I can't see them stopping Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson on the ground. I do think they'll be able to sack Wilson – I'm calling for three on the day – and limit the passing game. But the Seahawks are run-first, and that's been a problem for Dallas this season. Conversely, I don't trust Matt Cassel to successfully exploit that talented Seattle secondary without committing turnovers, even if he does have Dez Bryant. That means it should be a tough day running for Darren McFadden and Christine Michael, and that hasn't been a recipe for success this year. I do think the Dallas defense will finally force a turnover, but it won't be enough. In a hard-fought effort, I give the nod to the Legion of Boom and a workhorse effort from Lynch. Seattle wins – something like 28-17.
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