It’s Week 2 of the NFL season, and that finds the Seahawks at the deafening, friendly confines of home at the Clink. This week’s opponent? The Dallas Cowboys. While the past couple contests haven’t gone the ‘Hawks way, both losses in the Big D, some would say this is a completely different Seattle team, and no one can argue the 12th Man’s presence in the big wins the Seahawks have enjoyed the past couple times Dallas has come to town. However, this is a new season, and with that, let’s take a look at some key factors to Sunday’s showdown…
1) Seahawks O-Line vs. Dallas’ Pass Rush
– Dallas is strong up front. With one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in DeMarcus Ware. The Seahawks need to be stout up front. It’s no secret that the ‘Hawks had some line issues down in Glendale, so shoring that up will be paramount to a good performance this week. With John Moffitt returning, the starting unit should be more cohesive with improved communication. Something that was lacking in Arizona.
2) Russell Wilson Take 2
– Let’s be honest, Russell Wilson looked very average against, mind you, a tough Arizona defense. Obviously the line play was a factor here, as Mr. Wilson was running for his life most of the game. If the Seahawks can give him better protection, and clear throwing lanes, look for marked improvement in Game 2. Dallas has upgraded their secondary with Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne at corner so it’s vital the Seahawks wide receivers catch the ball, and Wilson sees the open man with the opportunities he has. If not, it could be a long game.
3) Let’s Get Physical
– Playing at home will be a huge factor for the ‘Hawks as it always is. But with Dallas, and their history at the Clink, it’s even more so. The best way to get the crowd involved, and the stadium rocking is with hard-nosed physical play. Getting Tony Romo out of sync early will be a key to victory. Separating crossing receivers from the football and laying wood on DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones in the run game will only add to this effect. With the 12th Man ablaze, the Cowboys offense will find it hard to develop a rhythm which in turn will keep them out of scoring position. Easier said than done, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that it needs to happen to get the win.
4) Feed the Beast!
– This isn’t just the selfish plight of a Fantasy owner (well, maybe a little, he IS my Keeper in 2 leagues). But for the Seahawks to keep Dallas’ offense off the field, and theirs on it, a healthy dose of Skittles are in order here. With a rookie QB making his first home start against a Rob Ryan pressure Defense, its imperative the ‘Hawks look to their workhorse to sustain balance. A lot of this will fall to the offensive line, but the calls have got come from the sideline first. I would expect Coach Carroll to share this sentiment, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Seahawks’ stable of running backs carry the load here to take some of the weight off of Wilson.
5) “Let’s hear it for the ‘Boys”
– When it comes down to it, this game is going to be decided by the Defense. And the fact that the Clink possesses the biggest spark for its defense with its crowd is something special. It’s vital that the 12th Man is in full voice come kickoff, and remain so throughout the contest. The Dallas Cowboys don’t like playing here, as is the case for most teams. But the Cowboys especially despise the Clink and all that inhabit it. Most of the world is picking the ‘Boys to come in and beat the ‘Hawks. Do you agree 12th Man? Didn’t think so….Now get out there and let them hear it.