Game day has finally arrived. The Dallas Cowboys will face a huge test against the Seattle Seahawks to determine if they are worthy a playing in the Divisional Round next weekend. The last time the Cowboys lost in a Wild Card game was back in 2006, which just so happened to be against the Seahawks. Hopefully, things turn out differently this time around and a few of us front-page writers have our own idea of how things will go down. Here are some final game-score predictions and a few players to keep an eye on today.
As much as we’ve been talking about the playmaking ability of both Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott, as well as strong running backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Chris Carson, don’t be surprised if things start off slow offensively. With both defenses showing they can play well at various points in the season, this is a game where those units will bring the intensity. Expect to see more punts that you would like early on.
Frustration will start to set in as fans will have early regrets about a missed opportunity here or there, which will ultimately lead to an anxiety-filled contest. Try to take a deep breath and embrace it. Enjoy the ride that is playoff football. While a close game tends to favor an experienced Wilson, remember - Prescott can be as cool as the other side of the pillow. Dak and company turn it on in the second half and look for DeMarcus Lawrence to seal the deal with a sack/fumble similarly to what he did against the Detroit Lions in 2014.
X-Factor: Michael Gallup
With all the attention on DeMarco Murray and Dez Byrant back in 2014, Terrance Williams caught only four passes, but three of them were for touchdowns, including the game winner against the Lions. Look for Gallup to have that same type of freedom as the Seahawks defense has to worry about Elliott, Amari Cooper, Cole Beasley, and even their newest weapon, Blake Jarwin.
Game Prediction: Cowboys 24 - Seahawks 20
I think this is going to be a Slinky game for the Cowboys. What that means is that I think Dallas will get out to a two score lead early, and then the rest of the game will be the Seahawks closing to within a single possession and Dallas answering, so the lead expands and contracts just like a Slinky. But I do expect Dallas to lead the entire way. That has been the pattern in several games this season, with Dallas often getting on the board first and then finding a way to stay ahead. One thing I am not worried about at all is the Cowboys being ready for this one. In this case, the short week actually helps them keep the edge they need.
X-Factor: Dalton Schultz
This week’s game plan is going to use Schultz to exploit their attention elsewhere. He won’t have the monster game that Jarwin did, but will get around 60 yards and, most importantly, a red zone TD.
Game Prediction: Cowboys 27 - Seahawks 21
I think the game is going to be a nail-biter pretty much the whole game. Zeke is going to have a great game but I expect Russell Wilson to make plays and keep it close before Dak comes up with a game winning drive in the end to get a 31-28 victory.
X-Factor: Tavon Austin
Austin adds so much in both punt returns and his ability as a runner and receiver, and specifically because there’s so little game tape on how we use him with our current offense.
Game Prediction: Cowboys 31 - Seahawks 28
Here are a few responses from Twitter:
#DAL 24#SEA 20— Outside The Star (@OutsideTheStar) January 4, 2019
X Factor = Connor Willams ability to protect Dak through 4 quarters.
Dallas 17, Seattle 14.— Bernard Hampton (@MinistryAddict) January 4, 2019
@Nb_Eight5 scores on a gadget play.@nino9brown gets an INT
Zeke with 120 rushing yards
DAL 27— Nick Panetti (@comatmebro56) January 4, 2019
X factor Randy Gregory
What are you final score game predictions for today’s contest? Who do you have as your X-Factor?