Cowboys To Edge Out Seahawks In Wildcard Clash

Zeke has to rise to the occasion

The Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks lock horns in the opening match of the NFC Wildcard Round at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys won the NFC East for the third time in the last five years, securing a 10-6 record. Jason Garrett had been under fire during the campaign, but the club enjoyed a resurgence in the second half of the season by winning seven out of their last nine games.

Seattle were consistent throughout the season, earning a playoff berth by matching the Cowboys’ record. They were off the pace of the Los Angeles Rams, with their two defeats to Sean McVay’s side knocking them out of contention for the NFC West crown.

On the balance of the game the two sides are evenly matched. Seattle have playoff experience with Russell Wilson, who enjoyed the best season his career. The defense still has Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright from the Seahawks side that won the Super Bowl in the 2013 campaign.

Dallas on the other hand do not have a great deal of winning experience. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott both lost their only playoff game to date, suffering a defeat at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 season. The Cowboys have been notorious for playoff success over the last 20 years, but their rising stars will be determined to prove a point.

Zeke has to rise to the occasion

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas endured a mediocre start to the season and were below .500 at their bye week following a narrow defeat to the Washington Redskins. The pressure was on Garrett and his coaching staff to produce a response. They were assisted by a bold move by the front office to acquire Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick in the 2019 Draft.

Cooper’s presence in the passing game gave Prescott a legitimate threat downfield, while it also opened up the running game for Elliott to thrive. The Cowboys started to put points on the board, while their defense proved their quality against elite teams – limiting the New Orleans Saints to 10 points in a massive win at home.

Dallas were a different team at AT&T Stadium compared to their form on the road. Garrett’s men lost only one of their eight games, which came at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. Other than that they were flawless and will be confident of defending home field against the Seahawks. They have the run defense to limit Chris Carson and the legs of Russell Wilson. The offense needs to hold form and prove their mettle under pressure. It’s a big game for Prescott and Elliott to prove they can shine on the big occasion.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are a dangerous team entering the playoffs. They have the credentials of a tough outfit entering January. Pete Carroll’s men have experience, a stout enough defense and a quarterback capable of making big plays under pressure. Many expected Seattle to struggle this term due to the departure of their key defensive players.

However, Carroll has held the team together, resulting in a return to the post-season after their failure last term. One of the reasons for their success has been the form of Wilson. The 30-year-old has been outstanding and has taken his game to the next level, becoming a top-tier quarterback. He threw 35 touchdowns to just seven interceptions over the course of the campaign.

Wilson did have support from the running game from Chris Carson, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground. Doug Baldwin remained clutch, although he was limited due to a number of injuries. Seattle’s defense was good enough even after losing Earl Thomas to a broken leg, with Wagner leading the way with a dominant 138-tackle season. Frank Clark and Jarran Reed were also on point in the pass-rush, combining for 23.5 sacks. There are enough elements in the team to defeat the Cowboys and make noise in the playoff race.

Head to Head

Games Played: 19 Dallas Cowboys: 10 Seattle Seahawks: 9

The Cowboys have edged the matchups between the two sides, although Seattle have won the last three meetings. Carroll’s men won the game earlier this season, securing a 24-13 victory at CenturyLink Field, controlling the contest from the outset. Wilson threw two touchdowns, while Carson had 100 yards on the ground. Prescott had a game to forget committing two turnovers, although Elliott produced a fine performance.

The match occurred in week three and the two sides have changed drastically since then therefore it’s difficult to see it having much bearing on the result of their playoff contest. The two sides have met once before in the post-season in the 2006 campaign. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made headlines for the wrong reasons when he botched a snap for a game-winning field goal that would have likely sent Dallas into the Divisional Round. Garrett’s side will be desperate to avoid similar mistakes this time around.

Match Betting Options

The Cowboys have performed well on home soil throughout the campaign, dropping only one match. Seattle have had their troubles on the road and even lost their last game to the San Francisco 49ers. Experience does favour the Seahawks, but the talent is in the favour of Garrett’s men.

Take Dallas for the win at odds of -120   with Bovada and on the -3.5 spread at odds of +130   with 888Sport. The over/under line for total points scored has been ranged in the low forties – take the under on fewer than 43 points to be scored at odds of -105   with Bovada. Both teams have turnovers in them therefore take a +180   prop bet for a defensive or special teams touchdown with TopBet.

Player Betting Options

Cooper has made the difference to Dallas’ passing attack. He scored six touchdowns in nine games following his move, back him to score anytime in the contest at odds of +120   with Bet365. Wilson has been excellent with his feet during his career, but did not register a rushing score during the regular season.

Take him for a rushing touchdown at odds of +900   with 888Sport. Elliott impressed during the meeting between the two sides despite the Cowboys’ defeat. Back the running back to lead the Wildcard Round in rushing yards at +150   with BetOnline.

Tips Summary

Dallas Cowboys To Beat Seattle Seahawks
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: -120

Dallas Cowboys -3.5 Spread
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: +130

Under 43 Total Points To Be Scored
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: -105

Defensive Or Special Teams Touchdown To Be Scored
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: +180

Amari Cooper To Score Touchdown Anytime
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: +120

Russell Wilson To Score Touchdown Anytime
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: +900

Ezekiel Elliott To Lead Wildcard Round In Rushing Yards
Saturday 5th January 2019 20:15 ET (Sunday 6th January 2019 01:15 GMT)
Odds: +150