Game Preview: Cowboys at Seahawks

After one of their worst performances ever at home, the Hawks host the ‘Boys on Monday Night Football

What: MNF matchup with the Cowboys
When: Monday, December 6th, 6:00 pm (PST)
Where: Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington




Cowboys Key Players:

QB Vinny Testaverde: After being replaced last week against the Bears by rookie player Drew Henson, Testaverde took over in the second half, leading the Cowboys to a 21-7 victory. On the season Testaverde has completed 61.7% of his passes for 2,509 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Cowboys are struggling this season and a big reason has been inconsistency on offense. Testaverde cannot win games on his own anymore and his supporting cast has been sub par.

RB Julius Jones: The rookie from Notre Dame missed almost two months with a broken shoulder blade and his presence was missed. Veteran RB Eddie George is no longer a feature back and without Jones the Cowboys couldn't muster anything resembling a running game. Last week, Jones ran all over the Bears gaining 150 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns. Jones has the speed to make teams pay and he plays bigger than his frame would indicated. He is a tough runner and his talent bodes well for the future of the Cowboy running game.

WR Keyshawn Johnson: Johnson has played well in his reunion season with head coach Bill Parcells and he continues to be a threat in the short and intermediate routes. His 14 yard average per reception and four touchdowns put him on pace for his second best season since 2000. Johnson's toughness has also rubbed off on the rest of the wideouts and it should pay dividends down the road.

S Roy Williams: When he came out of Oklahoma three years ago, Williams was considered one of the best athletes ever to play the safety position. He hasn't disappointed one bit. He can play the run and blitz with some of the best linebackers in the NFL and, while he could still be better in pass coverage, he has improved in space against tight ends and backs out of the backfield. He ranks second on the team in tackles with 55 and while he doesn't have any interceptions he is an intimidating presence in the secondary.



Key Matchups:

Seahawks SS Terrell Bierria vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten: Witten leads the Cowboys in receptions with 58 for 667 yards and five touchdowns. He runs excellent routes and has soft hands. He is only an average blocker, but the threat he poses down the deep seam makes him dangerous nonetheless. Bierria leads the Seahawks in tackles with 64, but he has been exposed several times in coverage and he is being pressed by rookie Michael Boulware for playing time. If Bierria can contain Witten it will take away one of the Cowboys' biggest advantages.

Jones vs. Seahawks MLB Orlando Huff: Huff is the starter but he has been sharing time with rookie Niko Koutouvides. While Huff is a sure tackler, he takes bad angles and has trouble disengaging blockers. Jones, despite his size, runs better between the tackles and when he gets in the open field he has the speed to run away from defenders. If the Hawks can contain Jones it will take away the play-action passing game that Testaverde uses so well. If not it will be a long day when the defense is on the field.

Seahawks DE Grant Wistrom vs. Cowboys LT Flozell Adams: Adams is a mountain of a man and he usually just overpowers most of his opponents. He struggles with speed rushers, but if he gets his hands on you, the play is over. Wistrom showed some signs of his "old self" last week against the Bills but he hasn't had the same effect he had earlier in the season on the outcome of games. Wistrom must get consistent pressure and keep that amazing motor of his going in order to cause havoc from the left side. Adams is solid but he is also slow out of his stance and Wistrom can take advantage of that.

Seahawks WRs vs. Cowboys Secondary: WR Darrell Jackson had on of his worst games of the season last week against the Bills accounting for at least four drops that killed drives. Jerry Rice was open several times but was not fast enough to catch up to QB Matt Hasselbeck's passes. Third-down specialist Bobby Engram scored the only touchdown last week for the Hawks but he hasn't really been the same since his ankle problem earlier in the season. The Cowboy defensive backs have struggled this season, giving up of 217 yards per game through the air to rank 20th in the league. The big-names in the deep patrol, Williams and CB Terrance Newman, have struggled in coverage more than expected and have given up some big plays. This defense can be had if the Hawks are able to spread out the coverage and take advantage of mismatches.



News and Notes: Holmgren and Parcells last met in Super Bowl XXXI in January 1997; Holmgren won his only championship in that game, guiding the Green Bay Packers to a 35-21 victory over Parcells' New England Patriots; Seahawks have gone just 3-5 since winning their first three games; This game will mark the Seahawks' 20th appearance on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks are 12-7 all-time on Monday night, including an 8-4 record in Seattle; The Cowboys lead the series with the Seahawks 5-3, but Seattle won the last time the two teams squared off, 17-14; The Seahawks lead the league in interceptions (17) and cornerback Ken Lucas leads the NFC with five; The combined record of the teams in the NFC West is 16-28. The next worst division is the NFC South (21-23).



Injuries:

Cowboys:
PROBABLE: S Keith Davis (hip); WR Keyshawn Johnson (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Vinny Testaverde (shoulder); RB Richie Anderson (concussion)


Seahawks:
PROBABLE: QB Matt Hasselbeck (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Chike Okeafor (ankle)
OUT: LB Tracy White (hamstring); LB Chad Brown (knee)




Prediction: Seahawks 27 – Cowboys 19

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.


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