#5 – 12/24/2017 vs Seattle Seahawks
This matchup against a legitimate playoff team in the Seattle Seahawks is the lone home game in the final month of the season for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys.
The Seahawks have a prolific defense that has really set a precedent for an emerging defensive system and philosophy. The system isn’t new but is a modified combination of concepts that the Seahawks have mastered.
The Seahawks run an attacking 4-3 under defense with several pieces that are more fitting to 3-4 personnel.
The Seahawks have two of their defensive linemen using an attacking one gap philosophy and two defensive linemen that are usually strong and solid two gap read and react defensive linemen that can fight double teams and are quick to extend their powerful arms and react to cover whichever gap the play dictates.
They utilize a Leo which is a hybrid pass rusher that can be moved around the formation and can also play pass defense at times in place of the typical weak side defensive end.
The Seahawks have extremely athletic linebackers that close on the football and fly around making plays in both run defense and pass defense. Bobby Wagner is the captain of the defense and is the middle linebacker that has tremendous power at the point of attack and ridiculous closing burst in short areas to beat blocks and make tackles.
Sherman is the left corner that thrives in cover 3 and press man coverage which are the two most common coverages that Seattle runs.
Earl Thomas is the free safety with elite track speed that can play centerfield and really close in on plays to the right or left and is a solid tackler.
Chancellor is a strong safety that is often playing the curl and flat in cover 3 or playing as the eighth man in the box in run defense. He is a unique talent due to his instincts, ball skills, and phenomenal size and playing strength.
The Seahawks have an established field general in quarterback Russell Wilson who is emerging as an elite player. He has excellent arm talent and knows how to adjust trajectories and throw passes with different velocities based on the situations at hand. His touch in the red zone is really impressive and his legs are an additional weapon in his arsenal.
The biggest question mark for the Seahawks is the offensive line and if they have properly addressed it to improve what was a glaring weakness last season.
The Dallas offensive line has thrived against the Seahawks defense in 2014 and 2015 when it comes to run blocking and I expect that trend to continue this year. The zone blocking scheme just appears to excel with this front against their defensive personnel.
The biggest determining factor in this Christmas Eve matchup will be turnovers- if Dallas can properly protect the football against a relentless defense they will likely be too much offense to contain for four quarters.