With Ellis and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys had a pair of elite edge pass rushers. It was like having the Giants' duo of Carl Banks and Lawrence Taylor or, for a more contemporary example, San Diego's Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. Opposing quarterbacks were in peril. But the loss of Ellis has destroyed the defense.
Later in the article, Baldinger says we're done and that we should've picked Manny Lawson over Bobby Carpenter. Oh no, it's Ware vs. Merriman, Part II.
The Cowboys must re-establish their running game against a Seahawks run defense that is allowing 126.8 yards a game to take pressure off QB Tony Romo. The Cowboys have a big offensive line that has been inconsistent when creating space and running lanes. Look for head coach Bill Parcells to rely on the combination of running backs Julius Jones and Marion Barber against an undersized Seahawks defensive line. The Cowboys need a lot of production from Jones and Barber on first down to place them in more manageable second- and third-down situations in order to control the clock and extend drives.
However, with little or no running game, Romo is putting a lot more pressure on himself to make plays in the passing game. On top of that, he is making mistakes by forcing throws into tight coverage and holding onto the ball too long, allowing the pocket to collapse around him. Also, another tendency to watch is Romo looking at his wrist band when calling plays. The Cowboys usually pass after Romo looks at the wrist band.
That's the first I've heard about the wrist-band thing. The scouts in this article like Seattle for the win.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Cowboys 24
Don Banks at SI.com evaluates all four playoffs games. Here is his bottom line on Dallas and Seattle.
My Pick: Seattle's defense continues Romo's late-season slide, and the 'Hawks generate just enough offense to spark more retirement talk around Parcells. Seahawks 17, Cowboys 16