Seattle Seahawks quarter back Seneca Wallace, playing for the injured Matt Hasselbeck, looks to pass in the first quarter agianst the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, in an NFL football game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The Opponent: The Seattle Seahawks, aka the ‘Hawks, aka the Cobains, aka Holmgren’s Mustache Trimmings
The Line: Cowboys by 9.5.
Last Game: Before their bye last week, the Seahawks were crushed at home by the Cardinals 27-3. Matt Hasselbeck barely completed a third of his passes. Seattle managed only 128 yards, 14 on the ground. Oof. That isn’t very good.
The Coach: Jim Mora Jr. Mora was named successor to Mike Holmgren before Holmgren retired. I’ll never understand why teams do this. The Seahawks could have hired Mike Shanahan after last season, but because they had this big plan to elevate Mora, they were stuck. Now they have an uninspiring coach leading a franchise that is well on its way back to total NFL obscurity.
The Offense: The story of the Seahawks over the past two seasons and beyond is that the team flourishes with Matt Hasselbeck under center, and goes into the tank any time his bad back keeps him out of the lineup. But that loss to the Cardinals two weeks ago serves to damage that notion. After lighting up the Jaguars the previous week, Hasselbeck played horribly against Arizona. He’s got plenty of weapons at his disposal: TJ Housh, Nate Burleson, excellent young TE John Carlson. If Hasselbeck continues playing this unevenly, it may be well be time for the Seahawks to begin looking for his replacement. Perhaps they should have started doing that already. The Seattle running game is also spotty at best. Backup TB Justin Forsett is their best all-purpose back, but Julius Jones gets most of the touches. You Dallas fans remember Julius, don’t you? He was so good every sixth week!
The Defense: Seattle ranks a surprising 12th in overall defense and 7th in points allowed. But those rankings may be skewed by two brutally lopsided wins against the Jaguars and Rams. It takes more than an average defense to stop the Dallas offense, the way Miles Austin and company have been balling of late. Star linebacker Lofa Tatupu is done for the year. Uh oh…
Bonus Scouting Report From Seahawk Fan Matt Ufford: “I can't convince myself that this team is better than a 2-4 record, but I don't think it's terrible, either. Their two wins were convincing shutouts at home. The Jags aren't terrible, and a shutout is nothing to scoff at. That's kicking the tomato cans you're served -- what you're supposed to do. As for the Cards loss, they were down 14-0 before the offense ever took the field, then unable to handle Whiz's blitzes the rest of the day. The defense is better than average, and the offense is uneven with flashes of brilliance in the passing game. I would neither bet for, nor against them, especially since the same thing can be said about the Cowboys.”
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Ware vs. Brandon Frye. From their Super Bowl appearance in 2005, the Seahawks recent misfortunes can be traced back to two things: 1) Hasselbeck’s deteriorating health, and 2) The loss of Steve Hutchinson and the decline of Walter Jones on the O-line. That used to be the best left side of any offensive line in football. That is no longer the case. This is a team that struggles to run the ball at all times, and needs to keep their passer upright to have a chance. If Ware gets to Hasselbeck and plants his bald head in the turf early and often, this game is easy money for Dallas.