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Position battleground (defense): Cowboys vs. Seahawks head-to-head breakdown

How much does the Seahawks defense concern you?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Previously we looked at both team’s offense in the Position Battleground series, but now let’s look at both teams defenses and how they compare by position.

DEFENSIVE LINE
How can you not be impressed by what the Dallas Cowboys defensive line is doing this season. They kept Brian Robinson to just 3.5 yards per carry and sacked Sam Howell four times last week. Micah Parsons got in for 1.5 sacks last week and made one tackle for a loss. Johnathan Hankins was a huge surprise last week managing to get to Sam Howell twice, and led the team in tackles for loss. He played one of his best games for Dallas last week. The Seattle Seahawks offensive line is allowing the fifth-most pressures and one major issue with the Seahawks offense is its inability to block on passing and run plays. That means for a Cowboys defense that is feasting with its pass rush, should expect a great deal of success this week.

The Seattle Seahawks defense is definitely the engine that is driving this team currently. They have totaled 32 sacks this season, which is only five less than Dallas. Their leading pass rusher is Boye Mafe who had a very consistent run of games where he was getting to the quarterback. But the last couple of weeks have seen him fall off. Behind Mafe is Jarron Reed with four sacks. but both are highly effective against the run. But beyond this pair, the Seahawks have struggled against the run and have given up the fourth-most rushing touchdowns this year. Keep an eye on defensive end Leonard Williams as he looks questionable to play this week with an ankle injury.
Win: Cowboys

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

LINEBACKER
Damone Clark/Markquese Bell
vs.
Bobby Wagner/Jordyn Brooks

Cowboys fans had to hold their breath for a moment when Markquese Bell went down and got helped off the field. The good news is it doesn’t seem anything serious and he will play this Thursday. Damone Clark had himself another good game last week and came second in tackles against the Washington Commanders. He also made a great play to bring the ball carrier down for a big loss. This week the pairing will be facing a running back unit that is struggling lately and ranks 26th in rush yards per game. They have also failed to score a rushing touchdown in their last three games.

Bobby Wagner is one of the best linebackers in the NFL, that’s it, plain and simple. He’s currently fifth in the league in tackles and fifth among linebackers in total pressures. To add to what the Seahawks linebacker corps is producing, Jordyn Brooks leads all linebackers in the NFL in sacks. The tandem are playing at a very high level despite their defensive line woes.

Conclusion:
Damone Clark and Markquese Bell are both playing well, but their Seahawks counterparts are playing more efficient on the blitz and against the run.
Win: Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

DEFENSIVE BACKS

DaRon Bland is officially the owner of the record for most interceptions for a touchdown in a single season in the NFL. The record-breaking defensive play was the cherry on the cake during last week’s performance and the entire stadium erupted. Bland is averaging a pick-six once every two games, and with six games left you have to wonder how many touchdowns he will finish the season with. Stephon Gilmore continues to be overshadowed by Bland’s monumental display, but he’s not playing badly on the opposite side. The Seahawks are throwing for 221 yards per game, that ranks 17th in the NFL. But the problem for Seattle is the fact the Cowboys defensive backs are only allowing 167 yards per game, which is second-best, and Geno Smith has only managed to throw three touchdowns in his last four games.

Generally the Seahawks defensive backs have done a fairly good job this season. But the last three games has seen them get exposed and they have allowed the fifth-most passing touchdowns in that time. Devon Witherspoon missed the start of the season but had a good run of games during mid-season. The last three weeks has seen him average a passer rating allowed of 111.0, which is pretty poor. Their second cornerback, Tariq Woolen, has also seen his struggles this year. He leads the defensive back unit in penalties and touchdowns allowed. Jamal Adams leads the defensive backs in missed tackles rate and completion rate allowed. Safety Jerrick Reed was placed on injured reserve last week.

Conclusion:
Dak Prescott has the fourth-fewest interceptions in the league. On top of that he is also throwing for the second-most touchdowns this season. The Seahawks have recorded the fifth-fewest touchdowns and seventh-most interceptions. The odds favor the Cowboys defensive back unit this week, while the Seahawks have their work cut out. The Cowboys also have DaRon Bland.
Win: Cowboys

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

SPECIAL TEAMS

Brandon Aubrey added to his consecutive field goal tally last week and continues to shine for the Cowboys special team unit. He missed an extra point, but the fact he’s gone this far into the season without missing a field goal is nothing short of remarkable. Jason Myers has a field goal completion rate of 80%, which puts him 27th among starting kickers.

Bryan Anger has the second-highest yards-per-punt at 51 yards per attempt. His punting along with this great punt defense have allowed a total of 130 yards returned, which ranks 25th. Michael Dickson is averaging 49 yards per punt, but he has boomed one for 73 yards, which is the third longest this season.

Out of 61 players that have registered a punt return, KaVontae Turpin ranks 32nd in return yards. His 6.6 yards average yards per return ranks 48th. Before you think Turpin has regressed as a returner, he’s averaging the third-highest kickoff return average and is helping the offense get an average starting position at the 31-yard line. Deejay Dallas has the seventh-highest average return per punt of 11.3 yards and fifth-highest return total of 237 yards.
Win: Cowboys

Poll

Which team has the better defense?

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (236 votes)
  • 3%
    Seattle Seahawks
    (9 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now

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