The Dallas Cowboys don’t need mathematicians to take down the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow afternoon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend to be one. Here are six numbers that represent meaningful aspects of Sunday’s Cowboys-Seahawks tilt. . .
4.5: Yards-per-attempt for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in his first NFL game—the second-worst mark in the league behind Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden
In my game plan for the ‘Boys against Seattle, I suggested the defense sit back in safe coverage. The reason is that, with Wilson struggling early in his NFL career, the Cowboys should force him to beat them again and again instead of opening up the window for a big play.
2.87: The difference in yards-per-attempt given up by Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner (8.74) and cornerback Richard Sherman (5.87) in 2011
I explained why the Cowboys would be smart to test Browner when I detailed four ways the ‘Boys can beat Seattle.
21: The number of penalties called on Browner and Sherman in 2011
This was the highest for any cornerback duo in the NFL. They’ll likely struggle against both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, regardless of the Cowboys’ rushing efficiency.
.276: The Cowboys’ winning percentage when they pass the ball on at least 57 percent of their snaps, suggesting they should throw it less frequently
Continue reading for evidence as to why that isn’t really the case.
.636: The Cowboys’ winning percentage when they pass the ball on at least 57 percent of their snaps through the first three quarters, suggesting they throw the ball to get ahead and then run it late to close out games
In my article on Jason Garrett’s play-calling, I showed why the Cowboys aren’t really a balanced team, nor should they be. Like most NFL teams, Dallas thrives through the air and only becomes “balanced” when they run with frequency late in games.
45: The number of pressures from Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons in 2011—the fourth-best mark in the NFL and one ahead of DeMarcus Ware.
Clemons is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He lined up on the right side of Seattle’s defense on 76.5 percent of snaps in Week 1, so he’ll be matched up primarily with left tackle Tyron Smith.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. He’s psyched about the 2012 Dallas Cowboys vibe … and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week.
Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. I’m sure you’ll agree … a lot of these will come true. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini – Week #2 predictions:
Cowboys take Seahawks seriously – dominate game!
The Dallas Cowboys defense continues growth, leaves rookie QB shaken.
- 5 team sacks, including:
- 1 sack for Sean Lee
- 2 sacks for DeMarcus Ware
- Sean Lee leads tackles
- 1+ takeaways per half
- 1 Brandon Carr interception
- 1 Seattle Seahawk injured
- Cowboys allow 13+ points
- Seattle limited to 90 yards rushing
The Dallas offense continues where it left off against the New York Giants. :
- Cowboys receive opening kick
- Cowboys score on first drive
- 3 Tony Romo TD’s, 300 yards passing
- 2 Dez Bryant TD’s
- 1 Witten TD
- 1 DeMarco Murray TD
- Team rushes for 145+ yards
- Cowboys lead at half-time
- 70 yards penalties
- Cowboys win by 7 or more
The GREAT Robbini
The Dallas Cowboys return to Seattle for the first time since Tony Romo’s botched hold on a short field-goal attempt foiled their last real chance to win the 2006 NFC Wild Card game. A lot has changed since then. But Romo is still the Cowboys’ quarterback and he is leading a team that won its season opener and should be riding a wave of momentum into CenturyLink Field. Will Dallas be able to secure a victory and start the season with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2008? The Seahawks, with their rowdy home crowd behind them, stand in their way. Here is a look at how both teams match up:
When the Cowboys run
At this point, DeMarco Murray’s value is unquestionable. The Cowboys’ second-year tailback offers an added dimension to an offense now capable of securing a lead by maintaining possession and running clock. Against the New York Giants in Week 1, Murray averaged 6.6 yards per carry. The Seahawks, who held Arizona’s Beanie Wells to 14 yards on seven rush attempts, will try to corral Murray. But a young corps of linebacker that includes rookie starter Bobby Wagner will have a tougher task this week.
When the Cowboys pass
In the season opener, Tony Romo demonstrated once again how good he can be. With his favorite target, Jason Witten, not in top form, Romo threw for 307 yards and posted a passer rating of 129.5 against the Giants. The performance probably brought back bad memories for a Seattle defense that Romo shredded last season in a 23-13 victory. Romo threw for 279 yards that day despite Miles Austin hurting his hamstring in the second quarter. Austin is healthy now. So is Dez Bryant. And Witten says he is feeling like his old self. Seattle’s secondary, which Arizona backup quarterback Kevin Kolb got the best of last week, better be on alert.
When the Seahawks run
The Cowboys’ run defense was strong last season. It was the seventh-best in the NFL last season. And only four running backs gained more than 100 yards in a single game against the Cowboys. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch was one of them. Lynch, who rushed for 135 yards and one touchdown in a loss last November, kept the Seahawks’ offense moving when quarterback Tarvaris Jackson couldn’t. The Cowboys, who yielded 82 yards on the ground against the Giants, hope they’ll fare better against Lynch this time.
When the Seahawks pass
Russell Wilson didn’t take the NFL world by storm like Washington’s Robert Griffin III did. The rookie quarterback’s debut was pretty unremarkable. He completed 53 percent of his pass attempts and threw for 153 yards. Together, his top targets, Braylon Edwards and Sidney Rice, made only nine receptions. The Cowboys should feel confident they can limit Wilson after they kept Eli Manning and the Giants’ air attack at bay for most of the game in the team’s season opener. In fact, after Week 1, the Cowboys have the fifth-ranked pass defense in the NFL.
The Seahawks’ Leon Washington is one of the most dynamic specialists in the NFL. Against Arizona last week he returned a punt 52 yards and a kick 83 yards. He’s a game-changer. The Cowboys recognize that and the coverage units have been put on notice. Yet punter Chris Jones and kicker Dan Bailey will also have roles in trying to keep Washington under wraps. Against the Giants, Jones’ two punts resulted in only five return yards – the second lowest figure in the NFL in Week 1.
CenturyLink Field is considered to be one of the most hostile environments for road teams in the NFL. Since it opened in 2002, only six NFL teams have posted a better winning percentage at home than the Seahawks have. The crowd there is loud. It’s intimidating. But the Cowboys should be able to handle it. After all, this is a team that went into MetLife Stadium and beat the defending Super Bowl champions earlier this month. The Cowboys should be brimming with confidence after that victory and feel good about their chances to beat a Seattle team that lost to NFL lightweight Arizona last week.
Fox’s Jimmy Johnson was at Valley Ranch on Thursday to chat with Tony Romo, Rob Ryan and Sean Lee for a feature on the Cowboys defense scheduled to air on Sunday’s pre-game show.
So you know, Johnson was one of the few national voices to pick the Dallas Cowboys over the New York Giants in the season opener.
“I thought they would be thoroughly prepared for the game,” Johnson said on his way out of Cowboys headquarters, throwing a bouquet at Jason Garrett. “I like what I see with this team over last year’s. I like the additions on defense, especially the new cornerbacks. Sean Lee is 100 percent and I like the healthy DeMarco Murray.”
Still, Johnson warned against overconfidence before Sunday’s game at Seattle.
“They have to prove this week that the first game wasn’t out of character,” he said. “That happens more than you think in the NFL. Seattle has a strong defense and a real home-field advantage with its loud fans. We’ll know a lot more about the Cowboys after this game.”
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