DALLAS — After a wild and crazy home-opening comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys will play their third straight non-divisional game to kick off their 2020 campaign. This time they draw the Seattle Seahawks who are off to a fast 2-0 start.
As for Dallas, after beginning the year 0-1 following a loss in Week 1 to the Los Angeles Rams, they outscored the Falcons 40-19 in the final 40 minutes of the game last Sunday to even their record and prevent a daunting 0-2 start.
Much like in 2018, the Cowboys travel to CenturyLink Field for Week 3 and they’ll be looking for a different fate this time after Pete Carroll and the Seahawks bested Dallas 24-13 two years ago. It won’t be easy, though, as Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is about as hot as any player in the league through the season’s first two weeks.
The Cowboys need to get a lead early to prevent needing to play from behind. Going down big might have eventually worked out against Atlanta in miraculous fashion last weekend but it’s no way to consistently win football games. Wilson is likely going to get to work early on putting points on the board, so it would behoove the Cowboys to find a way to mitigate that attack. As head coach Mike McCarthy preaches, they need to score early and often.
The way this team was constructed, they are built for shootouts but it would help if they are the ones who are one step ahead. Here are three ways that Dallas can get the job done in Seattle:
Cooking with chef Dak
It’s always easy to select the quarterback as the reason a team will win or lose, but, considering who his opposition is, there’s just no way around it. Dallas will need Dak Prescott to get the offense humming early on and then not let his foot off the gas.
The Cowboys can’t afford to fall down early against Wilson and the Seahawks, especially on the road where Seattle historically has one of the biggest advantages in the league.
Last week, Prescott went for 450 yards and four total touchdowns. The Cowboys’ gunslinger needs to have another big game. With the offense they are facing, and the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, it could be another high scoring affair again this week which means Dallas will be counting on Prescott to be the difference maker.
Disrupting Russell Wilson
The Dallas pass rush needs to be more effective this week. Currently, the Cowboys rank 30th in the league in sacks and 29th in quarterback pressures. To keep the Seahawks off the scoreboard, the Cowboys will need to create some pressure on the quarterback.
DeMarcus Lawrence was dealing with a knee injury throughout the week so it will be interesting to see if he can go on Sunday. If he can’t, Dallas will need others off the edges to step up and get in Wilson’s face.
Aldon Smith has arguably been the best pass rusher for the Cowboys early on. The ability to stop Seattle could come down to the newcomers in this game. Can Smith and late free agent signee Everson Griffin get to Wilson and prevent him from attacking an injury-ravaged Dallas secondary? If the defensive line can’t keep Wilson busy, it might be a long afternoon in Seattle.
See more of CeeDee Lamb
Dallas’ top selection from April became the first player from the draft class to record a 100-yard game last week. Lamb was a big part of the offense, including a catch late in the game that helped set up the game-winning Greg Zuerlein field goal. With a likely need to continue putting points on the board, Lamb could be in for another monster game.
The Seattle defense has been one of the worst in the NFL at defending receivers from the slot so far in 2020. Through two games, they have allowed 412 yards out of the slot according to Pro Football Focus. Slot defender Ugo Amadi has allowed over 80% completion of his targets. If Dallas is on its game, look for Lamb to take advantage of a possible mismatch.
Do you think the Cowboys will be able to go up to Seattle and beat the Seahawks? Share your predictions with Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.