The Cowboys ended up the big winners after things went belly-up for Washington in Week 9. Dallas finished the regular season by winning seven of eight games, claiming the NFC East title for the third time in five years.
In that season-closing stretch, quarterback Dak Prescott completed 71 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Wide receiver Amari Cooper, acquired midseason from Oakland for a first-round draft pick, has proved his worth with 54 catches and six scores.
Russell Wilson and Seattle played inconsistent football until hitting their stride in Week 11, rattling off four straight wins against Green Bay, Carolina, San Francisco and Minnesota, and averaging 30 points in that span. A Week 16 win against Kansas City, 38-31, has the Seahawks feeling good about their potential in the post-“Legion of Boom” era. Chris Carson has finally filled the void left by Marshawn Lynch as the primary ball carrier. Doug Baldwin, if he can stay healthy, is as reliable as ever in the passing game.
This is the first time Dallas will meet Seattle in the playoffs since the 2006 wild-card round, when the Seahawks escaped with a 21-20 win thanks to Tony Romo’s botched hold on a field goal attempt.
When: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. Eastern time.
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tex.
How to watch on TV: Fox.
How to stream online: Fox Sports Go.
Odds: Cowboys -2.
What’s next: The winner will play in an NFC divisional game next weekend at either New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams, depending on the outcome of the Bears-Eagles wild-card game.
While the Seahawks’ improvement along the offensive line has been a revelation for quarterback Russell Wilson, it is still a middling unit across the board. Germain Ifedi, in particular, has had issues with penalties (10 this season) and losing quickly in pass protection (six sacks allowed). In their Week 3 matchup, Lawrence notched a sack, a hit and three hurries on only 23 pass-rushing snaps. Seattle mostly protected Ifedi by running the ball and calling just 21 drop-back passes.
Cowboys’ fatal flaw:
It’s going to be hard to keep quarterback Dak Prescott upright. The Cowboys’ offensive line ranked 20th in pass blocking by the game charters at Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders had them as the fifth-worst pass-blocking unit after adjusting for strength of schedule (10 percent adjusted sack rate against). There has been just one Super Bowl champion in the past six years to rank worse than 22nd in adjusted sack rate and with four of the 10 best pass-rushing units in the NFC playoff hunt, including both the Rams (second best) and Saints (sixth best), each a potential second-round opponent for the Cowboys, Prescott figures to be harassed early and often.
Seahawks’ fatal flaw:
Seattle’s offensive line woes continue to plague them. The Seahawks managed to overcome that deficiency in 2013 when their offensive line allowed a league-worst adjusted sack rate of 9.6 percent, but this year not only is it even worse at 10.4 percent, there is no Legion of Boom to help them. And because of that, opponents are not forced into three-and-out situations all that often. In fact, the Seahawks forced opponents into a three-and-out less than a quarter of the time (24.7 percent), the lowest rate in the NFL in 2018 (it was 38 percent in 2013, the 10th highest in the league that year). Over the past 16 years, only the 2006 Colts have won a Super Bowl after a regular season in which they forced opponents to go three-and-out less than 30 percent of the time. — Neil Greenberg
The Seahawks play the Cowboys somewhere in Texas on Saturday. Here is what to see and how to watch the Wild Card matchup.
The Seahawks don’t just feel lucky to be in the playoffs. With a few plays that went a different way, Seattle could have won 12 games this season. Seattle is a good team. But are they good enough to beat the Cowboys on the road to start the playoffs?
Dallas is a lot like Seattle. The teams, not the cities. The Cowboys want to run the ball a lot and rely on a young defense to win games. So do the Seahawks. But Seattle has the better quarterback in Russell Wilson. Wilson has won a Super Bowl. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has not.
Sure, Dallas does have home-field advantage for the Wild Card game. But did you know that historically speaking, home teams have won only about 60 percent of the time in Wild Card games. Seattle winning on Saturday is not out of the question simply because they have to travel to Dallas.
Plus, Wilson normally either keeps his team in important games or brings them back to make it close. Most likely, Saturday will be a close game and not easy for those with weak hearts. Or even those with strong ones.
Where, when and how to watch the Seahawks and Cowboys Wild Card game
When: Saturday, January 5th at 5:15 pm PT
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
All-time Matchup: Seahawks trail 8-10
Favorite: Cowboys -1.5
How to watch
TV: FOX (Q13 in Seattle)
The top-ranked Huskies' 126-game regular-season winning streak that stretched over five seasons ended with a 68-57 loss at No. 8 Baylor on Thursday night.
"It's different. Clearly it's nowhere near the emotions as the past two years when we lost in the Final Four," Samuelson said. "I think it's more anger this year, feeling like you could have done things to help the team."
The Huskies had an undefeated national championship when Samuelson and Collier were freshmen in 2015-16. UConn went to the Final Four without a loss each of the past two seasons before two-point overtime losses in consecutive national semifinal games.
UConn (11-1) hadn't lost a regular-season game in regulation since a 76-70 home loss to Baylor in a Nos. 1 vs. 2 matchup on Feb. 18, 2013 — a span of 163 games. Their only regular-season loss since then was 88-86 in overtime at Stanford on Nov. 14, 2014.
In his 34th season, Auriemma said: "How long did you think you were going to win every game in the regular season, 10 years?"
"Stanford in 2014. Think about that," he said.
The loss at Baylor was the fifth road game in a six-game stretch for UConn that started with an 89-71 win at then-No. 1 Notre Dame. But the Huskies hadn't played since a tough win Dec. 22 at then-No. 14 Cal, three days after trailing by double digits in the second half at Oklahoma, before pulling out a 72-63 win.
"I think people sometimes get this impression that UConn, we have this magic dust and our kids are all perfect players and all great students, they all shoot the ball great and every time we shoot it, it goes in and it's just a matter of how much we're going to win by," Auriemma said. "And it's taken for granted I think. ... You're allowed to get beat once in a while."
In their last game before starting American Athletic Conference play Sunday at Houston, the 11-time national champion Huskies shot only 29 percent (20 of 68) with their lowest point total this season. It was their first double-digit loss since 72-59 to Notre Dame in the final 2011-12 regular-season game.
Samuelson and Collier both had double-doubles against Baylor, but were a combined 10-of-34 shooting with 11 rebounds each. Collier was 6-of-18 shooting for 16 points while Samuelson, after missing her first six shots, finished 4 of 16 with 12 points.
"Knowing we have a game on Sunday, it's a situation we've never been in before." Samuelson said. "We're learning from it, just like we're going to learn from what we did on the court, how to react in this situation."
After the Huskies lost at Stanford in the second game of the 2014-15 season, they won 37 in a row for a national championship. The last time UConn had consecutive losses was in 1993 — a span of 937 games going into the Houston game.
"Just getting our minds right and seeing what we did, and we have to be able to learn from it and move on," Collier said. "We do have more games to play this season, so we have to be able to focus on what the next thing's going to be."
Kalani Brown had 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Lady Bears (10-1), whose only loss was 68-63 at then-No. 11 Stanford on Dec. 15. They had played only one game since, a 61-point win on New Year's Eve against Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump “will fold” under pressure and not push forward with his border wall, arguing that this will lead to the election of a Democrat as his replacement.
Coulter, who was once such a staunch Trump supporter that she wrote a book titled In Trump We Trust, has been increasingly critical of the president over his failure to build his long-touted barrier between the United States and Mexico. Speaking in an interview with radio host Mark Simone on Wednesday, the fiery political commentator once again slammed Trump for not fulfilling his signature campaign promise, Mediaite reported.
“The president and I have had a little tiff,” Coulter said. Although she gave him credit for shutting down the government, she then lamented, “He will fold in the end.”
Prior to Trump’s decision to shut down the government before Christmas because Congress, which was controlled by Republicans, failed to send him a budget that included at least $5 billion of funding for the wall, Coulter and other conservative commentators lashed out, blasting the president. They, along with Republican lawmakers, believed the president would sign the budget to avoid the shutdown.
However, despite bipartisan support for the measure and Trump initially signaling he would sign, the president refused to do so. Many analysts suggested that Trump changed course after hearing the criticism from pundits such as Coulter and others on Fox News.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of federal government employees have been either working without pay or have been furloughed until a new budget is approved. Trump invited congressional leaders to discuss a way forward on Wednesday afternoon, as lawmakers returned to Washington following the holidays. However, getting funding for the proposed border wall will be even more difficult considering Democrats will now take control of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Speaking on CNN, Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries from New York said that lawmakers from his party planned to allocate $1.3 billion for border security measures but would not support building a wall. He pointed out that experts have long explained that such a costly structure would be ineffective, whereas other measures such as drones and improved communication capabilities would help.
Despite her initial passionate support for Trump’s presidency, Coulter has grown increasingly frustrated as two years have passed without the wall being built. On Christmas, she shared a cartoon of herself sitting on the lap of Trump, who was wearing a Santa suit, as she screamed: “This isn’t real! I want a wall! Bad Santa…”
Earlier in December, she suggested that the president may have just been “scamming voters” with his promise to build the wall. She also predicted that Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California will become the next president in 2020.
The government shutdown and all the theatrics surrounding it our all about one thing: sovereignty. Those who support the fact that America is a sovereign nation that must protects its borders will be in favor of the border wall. Those who want open borders and do not believe America should exercise its right to remain a sovereign nation are against the wall.
Those who oppose building the wall can try to make the argument that they’re all for border security and American sovereignty, but… [insert bogus excuse of the day]. It would be better if they were honest about it. Just say what you really feel, folks. The border wall is currently the best solution to preventing the mad rush of illegal immigrants from crossing the border. There is no benefit to them crossing at a point of entry if there’s no barrier preventing them from crossing somewhere else. In fact, it’s faster for them to cross illegally rather than wait to get access to the port of entry.
So, let’s dispense with the myths that border wall would be ineffective. Let’s stop pretending that the Democrats, who seem to think nothing is too expensive, suddenly think the border wall will cost too much. Let’s definitely put an end to the notion they support border security in other ways. These are all bald-faced lies. They want open borders, period. They don’t want America to be a sovereign nation, period.
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