Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys warsm up prior to playing against the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL season opener at MetLife Stadium on September 5, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have had some real highs and real lows over the last few years. Now the question is if they can follow one of their highest highs without a letdown in a place where they experienced a historic low earlier in this era.

Dallas can't fall victim to a trap game, even though that would be such a Cowboys things to do. Overlooking the Seattle Seahawks—on the road, no less—would be a fatal mistake.


What Dallas must do to win, offensive edition

Utilize Jason Witten more, as well as Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. Kevin Ogletree had a superb first game, but the Cowboys have to spread the ball around to keep a much more dynamic defense guessing. If Romo resorts to what worked in the opener, the Cowboys will fail.


What Dallas must do to win, defensive edition

Rely on that top-tier pass rush to exploit Seattle's pass-protection issues in order to throw rookie quarterback Russell Wilson off his game. Let Sean Lee, Josh Brent, Sean Lissemore and Bruce Carter handle the injured Marshawn Lynch.


How Dallas can lose

If they let the 12th man affect them in a hostile environment and make the classic mistakes we've seen from them in games like these over the years.


Five most important non-quarterbacks

DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray

Ware is always the most important non-quarterback, especially in a game in which the pass rush will be crucial. He'll need support from either Hatcher or Anthony Spencer. Lee will be counted on to keep track of Lynch, while Witten and Murray will help establish that balanced attack on offense.


Injury analysis, Cowboys edition

Jay Ratliff and Phil Costa have been ruled out on the interior of both lines, but the Cowboys are just as stout up front with Brent and Lissemore running that show and Costa is a below-average center anyway. Although he hasn't been on the team too long, replacement Ryan Cook shouldn't be much of a downgrade.


Injury analysis, Seahawks edition

Seattle left tackle Russell Okung is a game-time decision with a knee injury. The Seahawks gave up more pressure than they'd prefer against Arizona, which means they could be in serious trouble with Okung hurting and lining up across from Ware.


B/R NFC East Blog prediction

The Cowboys could be flat on the road after such a big victory, but I think they'll benefit from having that extra time off to prepare and get Witten back into the swing of things. This does look like a trap game on paper, but I don't envision Wilson succeeding against this revamped defense.

Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13