With Week one of the 2012 NFL season in the books, it’s time to look forward to the Week two opponent, the Seattle Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys went up to New York and took out the defending Super bowl Champion Giants in somewhat of an upset according to most NFL experts and the people in Las Vegas who establish the betting lines. The Cowboys are the favorites to come out of this game with a victory, but must not play that way. The team needs to stay hungry and aggressive, and not rest on their laurels as they have in past seasons. In recent years the team has had an impressive victory, only to come and play too loose the next week and not capitalize on the previous week’s victory.
The target the Cowboys need to have this year is to reach ten wins, and that should get them to the “dance”, where from there they can make their way and finally try and grab that elusive postseason success. Although they are one of the most talented and deepest teams in the league this year, every Sunday matters in the NFL, and there are no “gimmies”. In Week 1, here are few examples:
1) The St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions – This game went down to the last drive. After throwing three interceptions, Matt Stafford had to lead a 9 play, 80 yard drive to finally go ahead 27-23 with ten seconds remaining in the game.
2) The Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns – This game also went to the end. After throwing four interceptions in this game, Michael Vick had to lead the Eagles on a 91 yard drive to put the Eagles up 17-16 with 1:18 left in the game.
3) The Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints – The final score in this game ended up being 40-32, but the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated. RGIII controlled this game from the start and the Saints offense could never really get it going.
The three previously listed games are just Week 1’s most blatant examples. Detroit barely squeaking out a victory with 23 seconds remaining over the Rams at home. The Eagles after their strong finish to the 2011 season with a loaded roster, struggling to overcome the rebuilding Browns on the road. And lastly, the Washington Redskins going into the Dome in New Orleans and pretty much just owing the Saints the entire game.
This current Seahawks team isn’t considered a contender, but are widely considered a more competitive team than the Rams and Browns, and may be viewed as somewhat on par with the Redskins. After having a stellar college career at N.C. State and Wisconsin, Russell Wilson is a player not to be taken lightly. After slipping in the draft all the way to the 75th pick, the Seahawks got a steal. He came into training camp, beat out the other quarterbacks on the roster (most notably free agent acquisition Matt Flynn), and has the full support of the locker room. Despite his diminutive size for a quarterback, he has much heart and his team will play hard for him.
The Seahawks rushing attack is led by Marshawn Lynch, who is very physical runner and a top-rated fantasy back in fantasy football. Their offensive line is ok, with the best player being a potential 2013 free agency target of the Cowboys, center Max Unger. The defensive line is solid, with DE Chris Cleamons being the guy that will cause the most disruption. Their secondary is a large physical one. Earl Thomas, the former UT standout plays the free safety spot at a high level. Kam Chancellor is a player that has gotten better each year in the league, and combined with the two starting cornerbacks, Thomas is the only player in the starting secondary that stands less than 6’2”.
While the Cowboys should go up to Seattle and get the win, nothing is guaranteed. This will most likely be a close game, and the turnover battle and time of possession will be key. If the Cowboys can get out of this game with their record being 2-0, that would be a great start. The Cowboys must win the games they should if they want this season to turn out different that the past few. They will have a tough game in Week 4 at home against the Chicago Bears before their bye in Week 5. Starting in Week 6, the Cowboys have a brutal five game stretch with four out of five games on the road, and all against strong opponents.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH