Skip to main content
Presented by

What To Watch In The Seahawks' Week 13 Game At Dallas

Players, matchups and storylines to watch when the Seahawks face the Cowboys on Thursday night.


Having lost two in a row for the first time this season, the Seahawks are looking to get back on track when they face the Cowboys on Thursday night.

That, of course, will not be easy against a Cowboys team that is 8-3, having won its last three games by a combined 127-37 margin. That being said, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll likes what he saw from his team this week as players put a Thanksgiving loss to the 49ers behind them and turned their attention to the task at hand.

"We needed to bounce back and we did," Carroll said. "We had three terrific days here at the VMAC and guys were really up for it, as crisp as we've been. That was the response that was really obvious, so, glad to see it."

Here are five things to watch when the Seahawks take on the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium:

1. Is this the week the offense gets back on track?

It's been a tough couple of weeks for the Seahawks offense, which looked great on an opening drive touchdown against the Rams, but has not found the end zone since. The Seahawks have a ton of talent on offense and have looked great at times this season, but for whatever reason they have not been able to perform consistently on that side of the ball, something they know needs to change to start winning consistently.

"I think it's been inconsistent," quarterback Geno Smith said of the offense. "Just two weeks ago, I passed for the most yards I've ever passed in my career. We just have to be better at being more consistent, and it starts with me. I have to be better overall. I'm working my tail off trying to get that done. We know what we have inside this locker room. It doesn't always show up every single play, every single week, and that's something we have to work on and be better at."

Asked how the offense can find its identity, Smith said, "It starts up front, as always. It starts with our run game. It starts with the discipline without the penalties, eliminating the penalties and going out and playing clean football, but it always starts up front. It starts with balance, it starts with being efficient, in terms of the passing game. It starts with being a lot better on third down and in the red zone, and overall just making plays. Going out there and having a bunch of fun and playing with our guys and really just having fun together. Locking in and doing whatever it takes to win.

"We still have those same players and coaches. I trust in our process, I believe in the players around me, I believe in the coaches, I believe in myself. For us, it just gets back to doing what we do, which is playing good football, playing sound football, and knowing that we can execute. That's the reality, being confident in that. I'll always remain confident in myself, but I'm going to continue to preach that I'm even more confident in the guys around me, and I know that we all collectively can get it done. That's where it lies."

Getting right on offense won't be easy this week given the opponent. Dallas' defense, led by former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, currently ranks third in total defense, fourth in scoring defense, second in passing defense, and have not allowed more than 20 points in a home game this season.

"They're always going to play really hard up front, they're going to really rush," Carroll said. "That's always been (Quinn's) emphasis, being a D-line guy from the past; and they're really good at it. They'll compensate their looks and stuff to put their guys in position to rush the passer in really effective ways and creative ways. Danny (Quinn) is doing a great job of that."

2. Can the Seahawks end an impressive Cowboys streak?

The Cowboys, who are 8-3 having won five of their last six games, are talented enough to be a handful in any venue. Playing them at AT&T Stadium, however, has proven to be particularly difficult for opponents the past two seasons.

Dating back to last year, the Cowboys have won 13 straight home games, including all five home games this year, with four of those victories coming by at least 20-point margins.

"Any time you can demonstrate that kind of consistency on (the NFL) level, it's a real tribute to the coaches and the players and the whole format," Carroll said of Dallas' home streak. "You know how much I admire consistency of performance and the ability to do that. That's a real illustration of that. It's a great challenge for us, what it presents."

3. Will Seattle's offense keep Dallas' defensive playmakers from doing too much damage?

While the Seahawks offense will need to contend with the entire Cowboys defense in order to have a successful game, there are two players in particular who have been wreaking havoc on opposing offenses this season, cornerback DaRon Bland and linebacker Micah Parsons.

Parsons, a 2021 first-round pick, has been one of the league's most disruptive and versatile defensive players since coming into the league, earning first-team All-Pro honors each of the past two years, recording 26.5 sacks, 56 quarterback hits, 33 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in his first two seasons. Parsons is heading for another great season this year with 11.5 sacks and 23 quarterback hits in his first 11 games.

"They do move him around quite a bit," Carroll said. "He can be behind the line of scrimmage, he's always on the edge, sometimes he's inside. They know they have something special, and so they continue to try to keep finding spots where he can be effective and find himself in an almost unusual situations. The system and the calls don't always include him as a linebacker or when he's a down guy. They're just trying to mix and match him and they're doing a nice job with him. He's such an athletic guy. He's so slippery and quick and he gets skinny so well that it doesn't kind of matter where he is. He can kind of use his talents on the guards or even the centers and in the A-gap and outside for sure. We have to really be tuned into him."

Bland, meanwhile, has taken the league by storm in his second season. A fifth-round pick who played at Sacramento State before transferring to Fresno State, Bland had a good rookie season, primarily as a nickel corner, but what he is doing in Year 2 after moving to outside cornerback, has been historic, recording seven interceptions, five of which have been returned for touchdowns, giving him the NFL record for interception return touchdowns in just 11 games.

"He's a really natural-looking football player, he's got really good feel," Carroll said. "He reminds me of what (Richard) Sherm looked like in his early years. Just such a ball hawk. The guys that get a lot of interceptions, they have to have great hands and they have to have great timing and sense, because they have to take advantage of those unusual and awkward situations that they find themselves in, and they make it look easy. He's doing that. Very impressive. Amazing start, and his season is a little past half-over."

Bland and Parsons are both talented enough that they're likely going to make some plays, the key for the Seahawks will be to keep those two from making game-changing ones.

4. Can the pass rush get back on track to help slow down a red-hot Dak Prescott?

For a stretch this season, the Seahawks had one of the league's most productive pass rushes, recording 28 sacks over a seven-game span. The last two games, however, have seen the Seahawks register just a pair of sacks, something they know they need to turn around, particularly against a quarterback as talented as Dallas' Dak Prescott.

Prescott, who has always been a really good quarterback, is playing the best football of his eight-year career, throwing 23 touchdown passes with just six interceptions, and posting career highs in completion percentage (70.0) and passer rating (107.4).

"The quarterback is playing at a high level, so you have to find ways to be able to disrupt him," defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said.

As for the pass rush cooling down of late, Hurtt said, "It's been a struggle. Things start changing, you start off hot in pass rush, teams acclimate and they adjust to what you're doing. 'OK, the pass rush is rolling. We were top three or four team in the league in sacks and pressures and getting after people. Well, what starts happening is teams will -- all the options, you change the snap counts, you move the pocket, you work off play actions, you get chips with the tight ends and the backs and the wide receivers, and all those things come in, but guys have to understand and they're beginning to understand, it's a sign of respect when that stuff happens because they respect what you're able to do. Now you have to respond and we've got to coach and put those guys in position to have answers for when those things that are happening, but it's an adjustment because it could be really, really frustrating for a young player. Frank (Clark Sr.) has been a great guy to help those guys through that because when Frank got chips early in his career it frustrated the heck out of him. A lot of times you've got to give a guy a plan, but it can neutralize a really good pass rusher when that stuff happens. But he moved through it and he got a lot better and he learned how to work with the guys around him, D-tackles around him to have answers for that. That's why he and Jarran (Reed) paired together really, really well. That's something that the guys as a whole have to continue to improve at and we've got to help them."

5. Is this the week Abraham Lucas returns, and what can that do for the offensive line.

The Seahawks have seen numerous changes on their offensive line this season due to injuries, using eight different starting combinations with 10 different linemen starting at least one game. Yet another change could be coming this week, but this would be a welcome one, as right tackle Abraham Lucas could be playing in his first game since leaving the season-opener with a knee injury.

Carroll said Tuesday that Lucas "practiced really well" this week, saying, "He's back to where we're counting on him to be able to help and contribute… Abe had a good week. Everything's kind of on schedule as we planned it out quite some time ago aiming for this week. He did his part."

While the line has held up well overall this season, particularly given the turnover, having Lucas' presence back on the right side of the line could make a difference for that group, particularly in the running game.

"I think it's been a really resourceful group," Carroll said. "It's been admirable that they've jumped up and played to the caliber that they have. We've had a ton of variations in that. We have felt like we have quality depth, because we can rely on these guys to jump in and do their job and give us a chance. I think it's been really good in that regard. We have not been overly successful in running the football or protecting as well as we liked yet, but there's a continuity that may still come to us as we go down the stretch here. I'm looking forward to that happening. Abe has been one part of that, but we'll see what happens now. It's been a good year for those guys and particularly for those backups for as much play time as they've gotten. They've done all right."

Check out the custom-designed cleats for this years My Cause My Cleat. Some players will wear their cleats during the Week 13 Thursday Night game at Dallas.

Related Content