The Cowboys played an excellent opening game against the Giants a week ago in New York. All areas of the defense were represented well. Eli Manning was limited to a relatively tame 213 yards passing and one TD. Even that solo TD had to come from the tight end position.
Not a single target on the Giants roster solely recorded 60 yards receiving. One of the main reasons was the Cowboys defense never let Manning get too comfortable by applying excellent pressure throughout the game. When the smoked cleared the smoldering heat had resulted in 3 sacks and several QB pressures.
The run defense was equally as impressive. Aside from one big gain by Ahmad Bradshaw, the rest of the runs were rather pedestrian. Both Giants backs who carried the ball ended with a punchless total of 82 yards.
While the cornerbacks were scrapping with deadly receivers all night, the rest of the defense was holding their own in all areas. It’s hard to ask for a better opening game outcome against a team as dangerous and balanced as the New York Giants.
While Dallas played with toughness and aggression, trust me, we haven’t seen anything yet. The balance of the Giants squad caused Rob Ryan to have to tailor his defensive risks to fit the Giants.
At the same time he had to be very cautious not to hang his guys out to dry against those many potent weapons in red and blue. Once Dallas had a sizable lead to protect in the second half, it was even more crucial for Ryan to make sure nothing got behind his defenders and resulted in a quick score.
So while Ryan blitzed from different areas and remained relatively aggressive, he still had to be modest with over-extending the defense. The good news is that all changes this week in Seattle. Rob Ryan will finally get the chance to stomp the pedal to the floor and show everyone just how much havoc his shiny new toy can create.
COWBOYS DEFENSE VS. SEAHAWKS OFFENSE
What makes Seattle so much different from the Giants? Where do we begin? First and foremost, look no further than Russell Wilson. A 5’11” rookie quarterback known mostly for his scrambling ability, and is just feeling his way into the NFL game. Rob Ryan has to be salivating while designing his gameplan, as Wilson has a penchant for running when under duress. What does this aspect equate to? Pressure, pressure, and more pressure. Normal blitzes, exotic blitzes, and anything the mad scientist has in his bag of tricks.
This is the same Seattle team that allowed the Arizona Cardinals to pressure Wilson constantly in Week 1 and rack up 3 sacks. They kept the rookie off balance all day and forced him into 53% completions for a mere 153 yards, one TD, and one INT. Most telling was his low yards per attempt average of 4.5 yards. Meaning Seattle rarely trusted him to go too far down the field and looked to complete short, safe routes.
On the receiving end for the Seahawks, the main threats are Braylon Edwards and Sidney Rice. Decent starting receivers, yet not even close to the level of attention you must pay to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Zach Miller is a solid receiving threat at tight end, but certainly not someone who can take over a game and keep defensive coaches up at night.
Ryan will be unabated to let his new corners scrap away in man coverage and commit other players to more threatening responsibilities. Let’s not forget a scrappy Mike Jenkins is back on deck this week itching to make his presence felt.
The rushing game for the Seahawks ranked 21st in 2011, however Marshawn Lynch did record 135 yards and a TD against the Cowboys. One thing to keep in mind is the 2011 Cowboys had to pay extra attention to the pass and commit safeties to that area constantly.
The 2012 version doesn’t carry the same liability. And with Arizona limiting Lynch to 85 total yards last week, I’d say the Cowboys will be in for a strong day bottling up the run game. It takes a threatening passing game to back a defense off the run, and Seattle is noticeably lacking such needed potency.
The Giants were one of the worst draws possible to open a season, and required all hands on deck to help one another limit their many weapons. This week in Seattle has a completely different feel and task ahead. The luxuries and options the Seahawk’s limited attack will provide Rob Ryan’s arsenal should be a very intriguing sight to see.
This Sunday is the day Rob Ryan has waited for since arriving in Dallas. He has the capable players to unleash his unique form of mass devastation. Now it’s time for Ryan to show us all just how much carnage his talented defense can inflict upon an offense the likes of Seattle.
FINAL SCORE: Dallas 27, Seattle 13