SEATTLE — Coming off two losses on the road to open the 2018 season, the Seahawks return home to the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field on Sunday to face the Dallas Cowboys.
Here are three keys to victory for the Hawks this Sunday:
Call it whatever you like: want-to, need to dominate, belief that you're the best. The top teams in the NFL all have an "attitude".
Through a half dozen seasons and two Super Bowl appearances, the Seahawks "knew" they were the best team on the field. They had a confidence and a swagger based on an "attitude" that no one would out work them and that no one would compete more fiercely than they would.
2018 is a new year and this is a new Seahawks team made up of some young guys (Shaquill Griffin) some veteran (Mychal Kendricks) and some champions (Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner).
Watch the Scouting report on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a complete preview of Sunday's game against the Broncos. Hear my one-on-one interview with left tackle Duane Brown, my '710 with 710' conversation with KIRO radio's Mike Salk and Danny O'Neill and more.
Two things that unite them all: they are 0-2 to start the season. And, to a man, they believe they're better than their record.
Now it's time to prove it. The execution by every player on each play, the understanding that "each play" can mean the difference in the game, and the belief in not wanting to let your teammates down.
As much as running sprints and lifting weights is important -- having the attitude that nothing but your best effort will do is key.
131 straight sellouts and a deafening crowd of 12's will definitely make this home opener special.
Believing a win Sunday is the first step toward a championship run is the attitude that's a must for the Seahawks against the Cowboys.
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The games within the game in the NFL are the individual 1-on-1 battles fought all over the field on every play. Win the most 1-on-1 matchups and you will win the game.
When the offense struggles, it's rarely one player or one phase of the game.
Everybody -- lineman, backs, receivers, and even the QB have taken turns making mistakes this year.
Lineman can't get beaten by the guy across the line. They must bring the "physicality" that Duane Brown often talks about -- fighting til the whistle blows to keep their QB 'clean'-- no grass stains, no sacks.
But since nobody's perfect, they're not going to make .every block. To help, backs have to win 1-on-1, make tacklers miss, run people over, carry five tacklers if need be to score.
Receivers must get open, get separation, give their QB a target, then catch everything in this hemisphere.
And when your QB is a five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, he must protect the ball, know when to run and know when to throw it away.
He must dominate mentally as well as physically. And he must demand those around him win their 1-on-1 battles.
Do that, and Seattle earns its first WIN of the season.
In only his third season, RB Ezekiel Elliott is climbing the Cowboys record book. He already ranks 5th in team history in 100 yd rushing games. He's approaching the top 10 in rushing attempts. And since 2016, he's tied for the most multi-touchdown games.
Zeke won the NFL rushing title as a rookie with over 1,600 yards and Dallas is 10-2 when he tops the century-mark on the ground.
All of this by way of saying Seattle must "shut-down" Elliott here on Sunday. Sure, he's going to get some yards, but you can't let him go off.
You can't allow him to move the sticks, chalk up 1st Downs, control the clock and wear down the Hawks defense.
You'll hear about "run-fits," sure-tackling and rallying to the ball. The Hawks "D" is going to have to do all of the above and they're capable of doing it.
Last Christmas Eve in Dallas, the Hawks held Elliott to 97 yards on 24 carries. His longest run was just nine yards and he did not have a touchdown.
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