The NFL playoffs are here, and on Saturday (5:15 p.m.) the Seattle Seahawks face the Dallas Cowboys.
They’ve played once already in the 2018 regular season (Week 3) with the Seahawks defeating the Cowboys to notch their first win of the season. Things have changed since then, the Cowboys were a mild surprise in winning the NFC East. In the NFC West, the Seahawks finished behind the division-leading Rams but still won 10 games.
Here’s who the pro football experts are picking for the Seattle-Dallas NFL wild-card round.
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ESPN’s Todd Archer and Brady Henderson are split on their pick. Henderson is taking the Seahawks 21-20, while Archer is picking the Cowboys in a 23-16 contest. ESPN’s NFL experts had a close 6-5 vote for the Cowboys over the Seahawks.
“These teams are similar stylistically, as both want to run the football on offense. The Seahawks led the NFL in total rushing yards and rushing attempts, while Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott led all players in rushing yards and rushing attempts. This might prove to be a low-scoring affair, but the difference-maker is the home-field edge; the Cowboys — catalyzed by a young and improving defense — have won seven of eight games at home this season.”
The SI NFL writers are taking the Seattle Seahawks by a 9-4 edge over the Cowboys. The two boldest predictions come from Mitch Goldich and Jonathan Jones, who both have the Seahawks playing in the NFC championship game.
Jeremy Bergman from NFL.com is expecting another close Seahawks-Cowboys game; he’s got the Seahawks winning 20-16.
Another close Seahawks-Cowboys vote, this time the Seahawks get a 5-4 edge over the Cowboys.
CBS’ NFL experts are picking the Seahawks in a 6-2 advantage
Associated Press Writer, Barry Wilner
“This figures to be a game built on rushing. Seattle topped the NFL and has a three-pronged running attack led by Chris Carson. Dallas rides Ezekiel Elliott, who is rested and ready after sitting out last week’s win over the Giants because the result had no bearing on Dallas’ postseason standing. Cowboys 21-20.”
New York Times NFL Writer, Benjamin Hoffman
“Since Dallas was 6-1 in the seven games that Elliott carried the ball 20 or more times this season, and the Seahawks (10-6) allowed an ugly 4.9 yards a carry from opposing running backs, keeping the ball in Elliott’s hands is probably a good strategy.
With Elliott, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper all carrying the offense at different times this season, it’s easy to see why so many people focus on that side of the ball. But the Cowboys are in the playoffs largely because of a defense that has been retooled into something formidable. Pick: Dallas.”
Miami Herald NFL Writer, Greg Cote
“Dallas is 11-3 in its past 14 starts under the lights, and Seattle under Russell Wilson is a mighty 22-5-1 in prime time. Something’s gotta give. A foundation of this pick is venue. Dallas is great at Jerry’s World (7-1), while Hawks are a mere 4-4 when traveling. Seattle beat the Boys 24-13 in September, but Dallas is appreciably better now – especially since remembering that Ezekiel Elliott needs to be the fulcrum of the offense.
“Seattle doesn’t hurt itself (plus-15 on turnovers), but that banged-up offensive line could make it rough for Wilson here. With only mild trepidation, give us Dallas at home. Cote pick: Dallas, 24-20.”
Our News Tribune’s Seahawks and NFL writer Gregg Bell sees Chris Carson and Ezekiel Elliott’s running early setting up fourth-quarter pass-off between Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott. Wilson’s playoff poise and experience prove decisive in a tense game. Seahawks 20, Cowboys 16.
As for my pick? I like the Seahawks over the Cowboys in a close, yet low-scoring ballgame. I think both defenses will play at a high level but it’ll be Seattle by four. Seahawks 21, Cowboys 17.