The NFC has been dominated by two teams this year. The Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys and I don’t think any of us saw America’s team playing as well as they have because last year, they struggled so much without Tony Romo under center and this year, he hasn’t played with lingering back issues and Dak Prescott, a fourth-round draft pick from Mississippi State and Ezekiel Elliott, their first draft pick last Spring have been the anchors of this offense. With Seattle, they struggled early on in the season. Russell Wilson was battling knee and ankle injuries, their defense didn’t seem to intimidate anybody anymore and the running game looked flat especially without Marshawn Lynch there and we saw just how much he meant to that offense. Right now if the playoffs were to start, Dallas would be the one seed in the NFC and the road to the Super Bowl in the conference would travel through JerryWorld. So, here’s the million dollar question: Who’s better? Let’s break this all down.
Offense: They both find ways to get the ball down the field differently. Dallas controls the clock so well, their offensive line sets the tone for them by always dominating the line of scrimmage and I like how they keep defenses guessing on who will be the primary target in the passing game. It could easily be Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant will still get his looks, Zeke will get his carries and we can’t forget Jason Witten who still has it. Prescott can even take a game into his hands, we saw that yesterday against the Ravens.
I like the Seahawks offense and early in the year, they struggled to run the ball, the offensive line was having a hard time protecting Russell and as I said up top, he wasn’t healthy as he was battling injuries to his knee and ankle and his mobility is a pretty important aspect of his game. Now, he’s finally 100 percent and has both legs underneath him, the running game has picked back up with rookie C.J. Prosise, Doug Baldwin has remained Russell’s go-to receiver and the offense has finally incorporated Jimmy Graham more.
Advantage: Dallas by a slight edge. Controlling the clock is always a big thing in the game today and nobody does it better than the Dallas Cowboys. You have to be able to run the ball in December and January consistently and that’s why I’m giving this one to the Cowboys.
Defense: The Cowboys defense doesn’t have any household names. Randy Gregory has been suspended for a majority of the season and the team was expecting him to bring that pass rush. When DeMarcus Lawerence returned to the field after an injury, he generated that effort in getting to the quarterback, but it hasn’t been consistent. The secondary also concerns me because of the big plays and deep passes they give up down the field. The defense as a whole at times can make stops but has trouble getting off the field on third down.
This has been the bread and butter of the Seahawks since Pete Carroll took over as their head coach. At the beginning of the season, I was highly critical of them because they didn’t seem to be themselves. Teams were attacking the secondary left and right and they gave up a lot of points. Now during this winning streak, they’ve returned and looked like the unit we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Kam Chancellor is back on the field and we see the difference he makes compared to when he’s not there and they’re without Michael Bennett now, but when he comes back, he makes their front seven even better and when he’s healthy, that defense is on another level.
Advantage: Seattle: Defense still wins championships and they proved this in 2014 when they held a five-time MVP and the best offense in football that year in the Denver Broncos to eight points. They get takeaways, they make you think twice about going over the middle of the field and they have the ability to collapse a quarterback’s pocket easily with the rush and power they can use up front.
Who’s the better team: Records do say a lot and I have been impressed with the Cowboys this year. Right now, the Seattle Seahawks are better because of certain aspects of the game. Russell has elevated the play of the guys around him and I feel that Seattle is much more complete of a football team compared to the Cowboys. The lack of a pass rush and the inconsistencies in the secondary will hurt the Cowboys in January. Seattle is a team I wouldn’t want to see in the second half of the season. This is when they start to play well and get into a rhythm.