Sunday, September 16, 2012

Seattle Times writer picks Seahawks over Cowboys - Dallas Morning News (blog)

Seattle Times writer Danny O’Neill thinks the Seahawks will beat the Cowboys today, 24-20.

Read his game matchup column here.

Eric Williams of The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) doesn’t make a prediction on the Web, but here is his analysis (courtesy of MCT wire)

Here are five keys for the Seattle Seahawks as they take on the Dallas Cowboys in the team’s home opener.

Tate the playmaker: It’s time â€" Seahawks receiver Golden Tate has to finally realize the potential we’ve seen during practice and in training camp. Seattle had only one pass play over 20 yards last week, and Tate is one of the few players who can create explosive plays after the catch. Seattle need to get him at least eight touches today, either on bubble screens, slants or stop routes out on the perimeter to help soften up the Dallas defense.

Contain DeMarco Murray: The Oklahoma product ran wild against Seattle in his rookie season last year, finishing with 139 yards on 22 carries. Specifically, Murray hurt Seattle by getting to the edge of the defense. The Seahawks understand how the Cowboys will attack them, along with the physical way Murray runs, and need to have a tackling plan for the big, physical back.

Get after Romo: The Seahawks did a better job of getting after the passer in the second half against Arizona â€" those pressures just didn’t result in sacks. But against Tony Romo the Seahawks need to make sure they have pressure in Romo’s face or else he’ll pick them apart for big gains. Seattle also has to make sure not to let Romo scramble outside the pocket and distort the defense for big gains.

A Beastly Lynch: Marshawn Lynch was solid against Arizona last week, finishing with 85 yards on 21 carries. But I expect him to have even more of an impact against Dallas this week. Lynch ran for 135 yards on 23 carries at Dallas last year, and I think he will have a similar impact today in order to take some of the pressure off Russell Wilson. Seattle also needs to focus on getting touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone. Handing the ball to Lynch could help that situation as well.

Avoiding 0-2: If Seattle loses to Dallas and starts the season 0-2, history tells us the Seahawks will have a tough time making the playoffs. According to ESPN, only 12 percent of teams to start a season 0-2 (22-184) have reached the postseason since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990.

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