NFL Week 16 Preview: Seahawks at Cowboys
The Seattle Seahawks visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 14
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks offense vs. Dallas Cowboys defense
- WR Tyler Lockett vs. CB Chidobe Awuzie – When Lockett isn’t lining up in the slot, he’s most likely out wide to the right, where he will see rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. When lined up wide to the right of the formation, Lockett has seen 20 of his 70 targets and has scored one of his two touchdowns. That’s also where he saw two of his three targets in Week 15, but with no success. This week he will face a rookie cornerback who hasn’t consistently started since Week 13, though he does have an 82.7 coverage grade. In those three games he played 107 coverage snaps, allowed two touchdowns on nine receptions and generated the 17th-highest passer rating allowed in his coverage (106.0). Awuzie has done a good job of keeping things in front of him, as the longest reception he has given up has been for 14 yards. Meanwhile, Lockett has three catches of 40 or more yards this season, including one for 74 yards that went for a touchdown against cornerback Jalen Ramsey (the player with the third-highest coverage grade).
- RB Mike Davis vs. Cowboys run defense – Despite the Seahawks relying on the passing game last week, Davis was able to force two missed tackles against the Rams on only six carries. That was the third straight game Davis has forced two or more missed tackles. In those three games, Davis is tied among running backs in forced missed tackles in the run game with nine. The Cowboys are currently ranked 11th in missed tackle percentage on the season at 12.1 percent, with 34 of their 93 missed tackles coming since Week 11. The Cowboys missed six tackles against running backs in their last two losses as compared to seven across their last three wins.
- TE Jimmy Graham vs. Cowboys coverage – The last time these two teams faced off in 2015, Jimmy Graham was targeted 10 times on his way to a seven catch day and a Seahawks victory. Over the last five games, Graham has only been targeted five or more times twice. In those games where he was targeted four or less times they have gone 1-2. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have lost two of their last five games and in those two losses they allowed eight catches to tight ends for 112 yards and a touchdown. In the seven games where Graham has a touchdown, the Seahawks have gone 6-1, with their lone loss coming in a close one against the Falcons.
PFFELO Ranking: 11
Coverage by: Aaron Jones
Matchup: Dallas Cowboys offense vs. Seattle Seahawks defense
- RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. LB Bobby Wagner – The Cowboys get one of their stars on offense back in a must-win game. Despite missing six games, Elliott still ranks sixth among 58 qualifying running backs with an overall grade of 85.8. His run grade of 86.1 ranks fifth. He figures to see plenty of Wagner on Sunday, the highest-graded linebacker in the NFL (overall grade of 97.3). Wagner’s run-stop percentage of 11.0 ranks sixth among 92 qualifying linebackers. He’s made 35 total run stops, second most among linebackers.
- C Travis Frederick vs. Dl Sheldon Richardson – Frederick has continued to dominate since entering the league, currently grading as the third-highest center with an overall grade of 89.9. Through Week 15 Frederick has allowed 10 total pressures on 481 pass-block snaps, giving him a pass-blocking efficiency of 98.4, eighth among 35 qualifying centers. He’s one of only six centers this season with at least 400 pass-block snaps to not allow a sack. Richardson is having himself a solid season, earning an overall grade of 84.5, 24th among 121 qualifying interior defenders. He’s logged 31 total pressures, tied for the 18th-most among interior defenders. His 22 run stops are tied for the 16th-most among interior defenders.
- WR Dez Bryant vs. CB Byron Maxwell – Bryant currently ranks 28th among 115 qualifying wide receivers with an overall grade of 79.3. Despite being one of the most targeted wide receivers in the league (targeted 112 times this season, 11th-most among wide receivers) Bryant’s 1.72 yards per route run ranks 32nd among 85 qualifying wide receivers. This is partly due to the fact that he has seen only five catchable targets on deep passes (20 yards or more downfield), which ranks 34th among wide receivers. He dropped two of the five catchable targets, and has generated a total of only 97 yards on deep passes, 63rd among wide receivers. Maxwell is tied for 76th among 119 qualifying cornerbacks with an overall grade of 71.1. He’s allowing a quarterback rating of 138.1 when targeted, the second-worst rate among 120 qualifying cornerbacks.