FRISCO, Texas – Here's a look at the two big keys I have my eye on in this playoff rematch between the Cowboys and Seahawks.
Dallas Cowboys Win If:
There are few quarterbacks in the league that can put a team on their backs and carry it like Russell Wilson can. The only other quarterback I could imagine that would be more difficult to prepare for in a wildcard game would be Lamar Jackson with the Ravens. Wilson and Jackson tax your defense with all their deceptive movements. It's this style of play which makes them difficult to prepare for, because there is no way to emulate how they play the position. They create chaos for a defense because -- just when you think you have them under control, they break loose and put your defense in harm's way with an unbelievable play.
My biggest fear in this game is that a defender breaks free on Wilson for a negative play and he escapes to convert a first down or passes for a touchdown. I have seen this too many times to believe that Wilson is just lucky to escape. There is a tremendous amount of skill in the way he plays.
This led me to thinking on how you defeat the Seahawks. The first thing that came to mind is that you have to be disciplined. I asked Jason Garrett during his weekly press conference if he thought his defense was disciplined. Garrett didn't waste a moment in offering that his squad is not always perfect, but he said it was one of their best traits. The key for victory this week: don't get fooled by Russell Wilson's deceptive movement. When given the opportunity to get him on the ground, do it.
Seattle Seahawks Win If:
When these teams previously met in Week 3, it was the Seahawks' Jarran Reed who recorded two sacks while Frank Clark managed another. For the day the Seahawks ended up with five sacks. Reed beat Connor Williams the first time, then later won on a twist stunt with Jacob Martin working against Zack Martin and La'el Collins.
Since midseason, Dak Prescott has been on a roll with the Cowboys winning seven of the last eight games, but what continues to be an issue for the offense is their inability to consistently protect him. I am not saying all of those sacks have been on the offensive line, but that's where we tend to focus.
With Connor Williams starting for Xavier Su'a-Filo, it will be the same crew that played together the last time these two clubs met. For the Seahawks to win this game, I believe it's going to come down to how well they can pressure Prescott -- which falls on the shoulders of Clark and Reed. When the Cowboys have had trouble moving the ball, it generally comes in the form of a negative play. Clark and Reed have proven that they're more than capable of creating those negative plays.
Something to note here: you would think that the majority of their sacks have come at CenturyLink Field, but that's not the case at all. Half of their sacks have come away from one of the best home field advantages in the league, so if you're a Cowboys fan that shouldn't make you feel any better.