The Dallas Cowboys (10-6) will host the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) in the second game of Saturday’s Wild Card double-header. Kickoff is set for 8:15 EST at AT&T Stadium and will be televised nationally on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened up this game with the Cowboys as a 2.5-point favorite, but it’s dropped even closer to a pick’em. As of right now, Dallas is either -1.5 or -1 depending on where you shop. The total for this game opened at 41.5, but is up to as high as 43.5 at some places.
Seahawks vs Cowboys Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Seattle has to be one of the best stories in the NFL this year. Just about everyone outside of Seattle was writing off this team and even some Seahawks’ fans had to be wondering how this team would hold up with so many new faces, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It didn’t look good after a 0-2 start, but Seattle would go 10-4 the rest of the way. Keep in mind two of those losses were by a combined 7 points to the LA Rams, who who the NFC West with a 13-3 record. That means for the Seahawks to get back to the Super Bowl, they are going to have to likely win 3 straight on the road (only chance of hosting would be if they played No. 6 seed Philadelphia in the NFC Championship).
The Cowboys season had a similar feeling to it. Dallas was a mere 3-5 at the halfway point of their season. Then the Cowboys made the bold move of trading a 1st round pick to Oakland for wide out Amari Cooper. It couldn’t have went much better. Dallas would lose Cooper’s debut with the team at home against the Titans, but after that they went 7-1 to lock up a wide open NFC East.
That’s why it’s hard to put a lot of emphasis on a Week 3 matchup between these two in Seattle. A game the Seahawks won 24-13 as a slim 2-point home favorite. It really wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate, as Seattle led 17-3 at the half and were up 24-6 with less than 10 minutes to play in the 4th quarter. Overall Seattle has won 3 straight in the series and they also were the victors the last time these two met in the playoffs, which was back in 2007 (Seattle won 21-20).
Free NFL Pick & Betting Prediction: Cowboys -1
My early lean here would be take the Cowboys at basically a pick’em on their home field. I just think the price here is too good to pass up with Dallas. I just think the Cowboys have a much bigger homefield advantage than what we are seeing with this line. Dallas is 7-1 on their home field, where they are outscoring opponents on average by 6.5 points/game. Seattle’s not a horrible road team, but they were just 3-4 in true road games and their 3 road wins were all against non playoff teams in the Cardinals, Panthers and Lions. Two of those they won on last second field goals.
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It’s no secret that these two teams are built on their running game. For me it’s not so much who has the better rushing attack, but which of these two defenses are better equipped to defend it. That’s where I think we see the big edge here for the Cowboys.
Dallas’ defense has been outstanding against run. They finished 5th in the NFL, giving up just 3.8 yards/carry and 5th in run defense, allowing 94.6 ypg. Keep in mind this was with the Cowboys giving up 178 rushing yards in a game they didn’t show up to play in Week 15 (game really didn’t matter in terms of winning division. They had basically won the NFC East the week before with a 29-23 win over the Eagles). They also allowed 143 rushing yards in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Giants (win or lose, Dallas was going to be the No. 4 seed).
On the flip side of this, while Seattle ranks a respectable 13th in run defense, giving up 113.2 ypg, they are 30th in the NFL, giving up 4.9 yards/carry. Only the Chiefs (5.0 ypc) and Rams (5.1 ypc) were worse.
You can also look back at the Week 3 matchup. Dallas rushed for 166 yards on 19 attempts (8.7 yards/carry) and Seattle had just 113 yards on 39 attempts (2.9 yards/carry). The big difference was at that time Dak Prescott didn’t have Amari Cooper to throw the ball. Tight end Geoff Swaim led the team with 5 receptions for 47 yards. Despite only playing in 9 games, Cooper finished as the team’s No. 1 receiver with 725 yards and also led the team with 6 receiving touchdowns.
I think this time around the Cowboys will be able to put some points on the board and really let their defense feed off the energy of the home fans. Dallas is a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs a team that is giving up 350 or more yards/game (Seattle allows 353 ypg). Seattle is also a team that has been overvalued quite a bit in recent playoff games. Seahawks are a mere 1-5 ATS in their last 6 playoff games. Give me the Cowboys -1!