After claiming a crucial victory against the San Francisco 49ers in California, the Seattle Seahawks once again take to the road to face the Dallas Cowboys.
Personnel-wise, Dallas is not the same team thanks to a rash of injuries. Tony Romo, who is on injured reserve, will miss the game, as will Joseph Randle. The running back has been ruled out thanks to a back injury. Receiver Dez Bryant is questionable to play after missing all but one game this season due to a foot injury. However, the Cowboys will still present a challenge for the Hawks.
While most of the team’s impact players on offense are out, Dallas will still start tight end Jason Witten.
Witten is the latest in a long line of difference-making tight ends to face Seattle this season—and the results haven’t been pretty.
Vernon Davis, Jared Cook, Greg Olsen and Tyler Eifert all topped 60 yards against the Hawks. Tight ends have also scored five times against the Hawks this year. Given Witten’s longtime standing as one of the best tight ends in the NFL, Seattle should be weary of the veteran.
One player Dallas should be weary of is Marshawn Lynch. Lynch shook off any remaining injury-related rust with a quintessential ‘Beast Mode’ performance against San Francisco. The running back gashed the Niners’ defense for 122 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Lynch could reach the endzone multiple times against a Dallas defense that has allowed the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in the league.
Lynch may be without left tackle Russell Okung, who is listed as questionable with ankle and toe injuries. Seattle’s offensive line has struggled at times this season, and the potential loss of Okung could add to the struggles. However, given Lynch’s physicality, ‘Beast Mode’ has the potential to score multiple times against Dallas, regardless of who’s starting on the offensive line.
In addition to the run game, Seattle could find the endzone in the return game. The Cowboys allow 37.8 yards per kickoff return, easily the most in the league. Fortunately for Pete Carroll and company, the Hawks have the perfect player to exploit Dallas’ flaw. Tyler Lockett is third in the NFL in kick return yards. The rookie is extremely dangerous in the open field, as evidenced by the fact that he’s the only player in the league with both a kickoff and punt return touchdown this season. If Dallas gives him space on kickoffs, he may be celebrating a touchdown on Sunday.
Okung (ankle and toe) is listed as questionable. The veteran left tackle is the only player on the injury report not listed as probable. On the offensive side of the ball, full back Derrick Coleman (concussion), center Patrick Lewis (ankle) and running backs Thomas Rawls (calf) and Lynch (hamstring) have all been deemed probable.
In terms of the team’s defense, lineman Michael Bennett (non-injury related), Jordan Hill (quadriceps), Cliff Avril (ankle) and Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder) are all probable. Linebacker Nick Moody (ankle) and defensive back Marcus Burley (hand) round out the injury report.