It always feels like whenever the Dallas Cowboys face the Seattle Seahawks, it becomes a defining moment in the season. In 2014, the Cowboys showed the world that the were for real after coming away with a big road win. It was their fifth straight win and let fans know this team was playoff bound. In 2015, they showed they were anything but real as a fifth straight loss flushed away any hopes of a playoff run. And then last season, the Cowboys needed to run the table and win their last five games, but the Seahawks came into AT&T and ruined that, eliminating the Cowboys from playoff contention.
Big games require big players. Last week, Dave Halprin’s X-Factor player Tavon Austin came up big with a score on the third play from scrimmage. Tom Ryle’s X-Factor player Taco Charlton had a great game and recorded his first sack of the year, helping the defense shut the Giants down. Not too shabby from the BTB boys. Well, we’re at it again and here are our choices for difference-making players against the Seahawks.
Tom Ryle: Brice Butler
It is just his first week back with the team, but Butler is hardly a stranger to the Dallas offense or Dak Prescott. And after the relative lack of use of Terrance Williams (perhaps due to the team having an good idea what was coming from the league), there is certainly a gap in the offense for him to fill in more ways than one. So I expect him to be active, and to be used to stretch the field the way Tavon Austin did last game. Butler has speed and size and a little chemistry with the quarterback. He may not even catch a deep pass, but with him Dallas now has three deep threats (Deonte Thompson being the other). That gives the Seahawks more to worry about and stretches the field. That, in turn, should help get Ezekiel Elliott going. Butler’s impact may be more subtle, but it should be very real.
Michael Sisemore: Jaylon Smith
The linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys are going to have the toughest task because if you can’t stop Russell Wilson, you keep him in the game. Smith is the only guy that can match athleticism with Wilson. They cannot let him loose on busted plays because that’s where he beats you. There are only a few quarterbacks in the NFL that can raise the talent levels of their teammates, Wilson is one of them. Jaylon will not only have to be disciplined but he must keep Wilson uncomfortable in his offense. Whether Jaylon is asked to spy, blitz, cover Will Dissly, or go step-for-step with a receiver like he did Odell Beckham Jr. last week, he has to play lights out. Jaylon Smith is the ultimate weapon on defense, he’s the X-Factor.
Michael Strawn: Kavon Frazier
Am I alone in thinking Kavon Frazier has earned the right to continue starting at safety regardless of whether Xavier Woods returns to the 46-man roster Sunday? Frazier has been more than adequate in his two 2018 starts. Just as he was more than adequate when given an opportunity to start last season. Isn’t it about time we stop thinking of Frazier simply as a special teams ace and instead recognize what he is: a good football player? Frazier has been stout in run support, which is something that hasn’t been a strength of Cowboys’ safeties since the days of Ken Hamlin and Roy Williams. Look for Frazier to again make a play Sunday, perhaps preventing Russell Wilson from making something big happen off a broken play. Oh, and probably adding a special teams tackle or two because he can still do that as well.
David Howman: Antwaun Woods
It’s no secret that the Hot Boyz are good and the Seahawks OL is bad. But Antwaun Woods has been playing really good football since the Cowboys picked him up, and he seemingly peaked last week with a sack. Well, he’ll be going up against a similarly bad OL that’s missing starter Ethan Pocic. I’m sure the focus of the line will be on stopping Tank and Gregory, so Woods has great potential to make a huge impact in both run and pass defense, especially with Maliek Collins sitting this one out.
Dave Halprin: Leighton Vander Esch
With Sean Lee dealing with a tender hamstring, and the likelihood that the front seven will be chasing around Russell Wilson all game, I can see LVE getting more snaps than usual as they play it somewhat safe with Lee. The rook looked good last week in he open field by making sure tackles. This week, he can chase Wilson around and help shut down tight ends and running backs in the passing game. LVE will rack up the tackles this week and will be responsible for a turnover in the game, making him my pick as x-factor.
Danny Phantom: Terrance Williams
The last time the Cowboys traveled to Seattle, Terrance Williams had one of the biggest plays of his career. On a 3rd and 20, late in the fourth quarter, Williams would come down with a great toe-tapping sideline catch that would keep the Cowboys drive alive. Dallas would score to take the lead and the defense would hold to allow the team to come away with the win. It was a huge play.
Tony Romo para Terrance Williams. Que jogada incrível! Será que teremos repeteco amanhã? pic.twitter.com/sk75E6C6oo— Blue Star Brasil ✭ (@BlueStarBrasil) September 22, 2018
Williams has been an afterthought in the Cowboys offense this year as he only has two catches for 18 yards. With a possible suspension coming, who knows what the future holds for the veteran wide receiver. And his name as come up as a possible inactive candidate with the recent addition of Brice Butler.
With everything pitted against him, this would be a good time for TDub to show up for this offense. Look for him to have a big run after the catch and give us fans a glimpse of the Swag Walk, a touchdown celebration we haven’t seen since 2016.
Okay, those are our picks. Who do you go as the Cowboys X-Factor player of the game?