It’s almost here.
Will the Cowboys or Seattle Seahawks move forward in the NFC playoffs? The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their “gut feelings” for the 7:15 p.m. (Central) wild-card game at AT&T Stadium.
Lindsay Draper: It just seems like every time you count this team out for good, they show you why they’re here to stay. This wild-card matchup is playing out the same way. I’m not sure I’ve seen one national outlet or television network pick the Cowboys to win, which is why I’m doing just that. Sunday’s ‘meaningless’ victory over the Giants fostered comradery, trust, and momentum within the men in this locker room, regardless of where they fall on the depth chart. I believe their growth since training camp is something to commend. I believe that they are confident in themselves. They are confident despite still having definite inadequacies that come with being an inexperienced team. Going with a Cowboys win and advancement Saturday night (I hear you’re supposed to wear white) at AT&T Stadium.
Rob Phillips: I’ve been impressed with the way the Cowboys have played at home all year. The one exception was the hiccup against Tennessee, and since then, this offense has been much more efficient overall. And in Week 3, they had chances at Seattle until miscues put the game out of reach in the second half. Russell Wilson always presents a huge challenge, and these teams are so even that I expect the game to be decided in the final two minutes. Hey, that’s where Dak Prescott has thrived (14 career fourth-quarter comebacks already). Gut feeling: Cowboys advance in a pretty high-scoring battle.
Nick Eatman: Sometimes, you just have to throw logic out the window. Because logic really doesn’t lead to a pick for the Cowboys. I’ve seen Dallas play Seattle this year and it really wasn’t a close game. Sure, things are different now for both teams, but what we saw in September, the Seahawks were a better team. And honestly, I still think the Seahawks are a little better team right now. When it comes to quarterback play, Russell Wilson has won a Super Bowl and nearly another. Dak Prescott has never won a playoff game. Pete Carroll is a much more accomplished head coach than Jason Garrett, especially in the postseason. Add all of those things together and it doesn’t really warrant a pick for the Cowboys. Then again, being logical all year has led me to an 8-8 record in picking these games. Forget logic – let’s go with another stat, which is the Cowboys are 7-1 at home this year. I’ll ride with that and see if we can keep this season alive. It’ll be close, but I think the Cowboys’ defense finds a way to make a play. Give me Dallas, 17-16.
David Helman: How’s this for a bold proclamation? This game is going to come down to the final play. How could it not, given the seasons these teams have had? The Cowboys’ average margin of victory this season is just 7.7. They’ve had an absurd six games come down to the final snap. The Seahawks have fared a little bit better, but they’ve played in some nail biters themselves with an average margin of victory of just 10.9. Prepare yourselves for some drama. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they’ve been on the good side of that drama when they play at home, and I can see that happening again. I think Ezekiel Elliott will have a workmanlike performance, grinding out 95 yards and a touchdown. I don’t think Dak Prescott will be amazing, but he’ll make plays in the clutch. Russell Wilson is going to do his best to drag the Seahawks over the finish line, but Prescott will set Brett Maher up for a game-winner as time expires. Cowboys squeak out a 24-23 win.
Bryan Broaddus: This game could go either way. These teams are evenly matched and they should play that way. I feel like playing this game at AT&T Stadium is a huge advantage for the Cowboys. Playing at CenturyLink Field is no bargain. My gut feeling is that this game is going to come to the two quarterbacks. Both Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson are going to have to make some incredible plays in this game for their clubs to win. I like what I’ve seen from Prescott these previous eight weeks and he will make that one extra play to get his club to the next round. Cowboys win this one, 27-24.
Mickey Spagnola: This is a different Cowboys team than the one playing the Seahawks the third game of the season. This is a different Cowboys team than the one playing the Seahawks in Game 15 of last season. And no need to go back any further than that. Most of all, this is an improved Cowboys team. Top 7 on defense. One that has scored at least 27 points in five of the final eight games. And for heaven’s sake, do not underestimate the presence of Amari Cooper and his production over the final eight games. Lastly, a home game, indoors, loud and at night, with 90,000-plus having ample time to prepare for this one. Might even see them “jump around.” Soooo, Cowboys 23, Seahawks 21, the score that should have been in that 2006 season playoff game the Cowboys lost, 21-20, thanks to that first down at the one being reversed through video replay to fourth-and-one at the two in the waning two minutes of the games that led to the Tony Romo dropping the snap for potentially the game-winning field goal. This is a new day, baby.