NFC Wild-Card Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs Dallas Cowboys


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The Seattle Seahawks will battle the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC wild-card showdown on Saturday at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys lead the series, 10-9, but the Seahawks have won four of the last five meetings.

Dallas (10-6) captured the NFC East crown and will square off against the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a win over the Seahawks, and a Chicago Bears victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. However, a Cowboys victory and an Eagles win over the Bears would set up a Jan. 12 contest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between Dallas and the Los Angeles Rams.

Seattle (10-6) claimed the runner-up spot in the NFC West and will visit New Orleans for a Jan. 13 contest against the Saints with a win over the Cowboys, and a Chicago win over Philadelphia. The Seahawks would travel to Los Angeles to tangle with the Rams on Jan. 12 with a victory in Dallas and an Eagles upset win against the Bears.

Third-year quarterback Dak Prescott is at the helm of the NFL's 22nd-ranked offensive unit that is averaging 21.2 points a game. The Mississippi State product has compiled a 96.9 quarterback rating with 22 touchdown passes despite being sacked 56 times. Running back Ezekiel Elliott captured his second rushing title in three years with 1,434 yards, and also caught 77 passes for 567 yards. Amari Cooper is the top receiving threat with 53 catches for 725 yards and six scores, while slot receiver Cole Beasley (65-672-3) and rookie wideout Michael Gallup (33-507-2) have combined for 98 receptions for 1,179 yards and five touchdowns.

The Cowboys boast the league's seventh-ranked defense and have limited opposing teams to just 94.6 rushing yards a game. Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch finished third in the league with 140 tackles despite not beginning the season as a starter, and second-year linebacker Jaylon Smith posted 121 tackles. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence led the team with 10.5 sacks, while Randy Gregory and Tyrone Crawford registered six and 5.5 sacks, respectively. Vander Esch and safety Xavier Woods have both intercepted two passes apiece.

Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson enjoyed another stellar campaign with 35 touchdown passes and a 110.9 quarterback rating. The two-time Super Bowl champion completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,448 yards and also ran for 376 yards on 67 carries. Chris Carson (247-1,151-9) is the top rusher in a crowded backfield that also includes Mike Davis (112-514-4) and Rashaad Penny (85-419-2). Speedy Tyler Lockett leads the team with 57 receptions for 965 and 10 scores, while slot receiver Doug Baldwin has posted 50 catches for 618 yards and five touchdowns despite battling several injuries.

The Seahawks have the NFL's 16th-ranked defense and have allowed opposing teams to score 21.7 points a game. Veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner has registered a team-high 138 tackles and also has a 98-yard pick-six. Safety Bradley McDougald has tallied 78 tackles and intercepted three passes, while cornerback Shaquill Griffin has collected 62 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Defensive end Frank Clark finished sixth in the league with 14 sacks and 42 tackles, while defensive tackle Jarran Reed recorded 50 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

Dallas 20, Seattle 17

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