The Seattle Seahawks’ Week 6 contest features a game between two teams wedged in a tie for first place in their respective divisions.
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The Seahawks (3-1) are atop the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals (3-1) and the Dallas Cowboys (4-1) are locked with the Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) as leaders of the NFC East.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Seahawks-Cowboys matchup will be Seattle’s No. 1-ranked run defense against DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ No. 2-ranked run game.
Something will have to give but Seattle might be one of the few teams to “shut down” Murray this season.
Here are some other predictions for the Seahawks-Cowboys Week 6 game:
1. Seattle’s defense limits DeMarco Murray to 95 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Murray hasn’t rushed for fewer than 100 yards in five games this season (although the St. Louis Rams held him to 100 on the dot back in Week 3), but Seattle could be the first defense to keep him under the century mark.
It’s not just because Seattle’s run defense has been suffocating this year (allowing only 62 rush yards per game) but also because Murray is not expected to get the number of carries on Sunday he has been getting in every game this year.
In five games, Murray has averaged 26 carries per game, including a career-high 31 times against Houston last week.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wants to limit Murray’s carries heading forward which means Seattle could see a rotation backfield on Sunday. That, in combination with Seattle’s defense, should keep Murray from getting 100+ rushing yards for a sixth-straight game.
2. Tony Romo throws two interceptions.
Romo has been blasted by critics throughout his career for his poor ball security, but he hasn’t been terrible this year in that category.
He has thrown five interceptions, but three of those came in the season opener against San Francisco. Other than that, he has been pretty good at finding his receivers and making plays. But he has also been throwing the ball less, as Dallas’ offense has been focused on getting Murray the rock.
With Murray projected to get fewer carries, Romo will probably throw the ball more and that means there are more chances for him to make mistakes and lob a few airballs for the Legion of Boom.
Seattle only has two interceptions this season, a far cry from where they were at this time last year. Romo would be a good quarterback to jump routes on and if Seattle can shut down Murray and Romo, they should have no problem winning this game.
3. Russell Wilson passes for 200 yards, rushes for 65 more.
Despite the Seahawks throwing for only 201 yards per game, Wilson has made the most of the passing game, completing more than 70 percent of his passes, tied for tops in the league.
Dallas’ defense isn’t top notch, so Wilson should be able to find Percy Harvin and his other wideouts like he did last week against the Washington Redskins.
I don’t expect a dominant performance through the air, but Wilson will probably combine his arms and legs to rack up passing and rushing yards against a team that has trouble controlling pocket passers and mobile quarterbacks.
4. Marshawn Lynch rushes for 110 yards, two touchdowns.
Lingering back problems have kept Lynch from having an explosive year, but the Cowboys weak run defense could serve as a good opportunity for Lynch to break out again.
The Cowboys have allowed running backs 122 rushing yards per game, and that’s good news for Seattle’s top-ranked run game, which averages more than 167 yards on the ground.
Expect Lynch to find the end zone a few times on Sunday. He hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards or scored multiple rushing touchdowns in a game since the season opener.
That should change against the Cowboys.
5. Seattle wins the game, 31-23.
Russell Wilson has lost one game at CenturyLink Field since entering the league in 2012. One game.
Seattle is flat-out dominant at home, as we know, and the only thing keeping this score close is DeMarco Murray and a plethora of possible Seahawks injuries.
If it weren’t for those injuries, I would project a blowout of a Dallas team that has certainly been impressive this season, but still hasn’t impressed enough to prove they can beat the best team in the NFC in their own house.
Seattle should pull away in the second half and secure a 4-1 record at the end of the day.