The last thing the struggling 2-4 Seahawks need is to head on the road, where they have yet to win a game this season, against a resurgent team.
That is exactly what is waiting for them at Cowboy Stadium as they travel to Dallas to face a Cowboy team that is 4-2, and the Seahawks needing a win to right the ship.
The Cowboys are coming off a dominating win against Atlanta, in which quarterback Tony Romo and the offense aired it out for over 300 yards, putting up an impressive 37 points and giving the Cowboys their first consecutive wins of the season. Wide receiver Miles Austin stepped up big time for the injured Roy Williams, and Romo has thrown for over 600 yards and zero interceptions in the last two wins, giving the Cowboys an offensive identity.
An offensive identity is something the Seahawks are sorely lacking this year. A team that was supposed to focus on the run this year has struggled with an injured offensive line, most notably missing all-everything left tackle Walter Jones who was placed on the injured reserve officially this week, ending hopes of a return.
In addition to the offensive line woes, the Seahawks have dealt with a banged up Matt Hasselbeck who has missed two games due to injury. On the year Hasselbeck has 729 yards passing, with a 7-3 TD-INT ratio.
With Hasselbeck expected to play, look for the Seahawks to continue to air it out on offense. Although the coaching staff was adamant in the preseason about establishing the run, the Seahawks have relied on the passing game so far.The Hawks have thrown 226 times for 1,416 yards, compared to the 542 yards totaled up on the ground during 155 rushing attempts.
Combined with the struggle to form a strong identify on offense, is a defense that has been up and down all year. The only two wins for Seattle came against the woeful Rams and the struggling Jaguars, and they are coming off a pathetic offensive and defensive performance against the Cardinals in a 27-3 loss at home last week.
The defense was impressive in the two wins, and the return of defensive back Marcus Trufant, at least in passing formations, should bolster a defense that is looking to lead the way to a turnaround for the Hawks.
Like with all news regarding the Seahawks this year, it is a good and bad situation as Trufant’s return is countered by the news that linebacker Lofa Tatupu will be out for the season. The silver lining with the Tatupu injury is the return of Leroy Hill, so the defense retains two out of its three starting linebackers from the beginning of the year.
The Seahawks pass defense will need all the help it can get against a Cowboys team boasting the No. 2 ranked offense. While the Seahawks defense is statistically impressive, they are ranked eighth overall in total team defense with numbers improved due to the two shut outs, the unit has been struggling. It will be a huge challenge to match up with the powerful passing offense of the Cowboys, especially if Dallas can continue to find balance in the running game.
From the Cowboys perspective, it hinges on the pressure the Dallas front seven can provide. The defense is talented and has the ability to hold the Seahawks offense in check, but they will have to combat what is potentially a potent pass offense with a healthy group of receivers for the Seahawks. While the loss of Allen Rossum will hurt, the Cowboy secondary is still talented enough to play well.
Look for both teams to try to take advantage through the air, while trying to establish the run for balance. The key will be which secondary can step up and force the other team to find production on the ground.
For the Seahawks it will be important to establish the quick strike passing game to balance what has been a porous offensive line thus far. With the two teams going in seemingly opposite directions, look for the Cowboys to take advantage and improve to 5-2 on the year.
For the Seahawks, the season is far from over. After a humiliating loss to the divisional rival Cardinals, however, it is going to take a lot of work to regain the top spot in the NFC West that they held up until last season. The defense needs to step up and lead this team in the right direction, and a good showing on the road against Dallas could potentially be a big turning point in the season. I just don’t see it happening in this game.