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Jim Moore Predicts: A banged-up O-line puts Seahawks in a close one

Seahawks C Justin Britt is questionable with a shoulder injury. (AP)

The Seahawks are in danger of falling out of the playoff race in September if they lose on Sunday to the Cowboys. Since 1980, only five of 168 teams have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start. The 1998 Bills were the last team to do it. So if the Seahawks go 0-3 and advance to the playoffs, they’ll be the first team to make it in 20 years.

O’Neil: Seahawks can jump-start offense with change in tempo

Part of me thinks they will win on Sunday in their home opener against a Dallas team that is no great shakes itself. As poorly as they’ve played offensively, the Seahawks were still in both games at Denver and Chicago and even were ahead of the Broncos in the second half. It’s important to note that those were road games. But I also wonder about the Broncos and Bears. They were both 5-11 last year. How good were the two teams the Seahawks lost to? In my mind, they’re middle of the road or below average like the Seahawks.

Playing at CenturyLink should give a huge lift to Pete Carroll’s team, but will that support compensate for what appears to be the coach’s least-talented team since he took over in 2010? Maybe they’ll be more talented or just as talented eventually, but there are so many new faces and new coaches that I think it will take time to find out. I don’t see it happening this year on a consistent basis. We’ll probably see glimpses of future goodness, but as far as everything happening in a big way this year? Highly doubt it.

If you want to focus on the positives, look at the schedule. If they beat Dallas — and oddsmakers think they will, favoring the Seahawks by two points — there’s a good chance they’ll improve to 2-2 with a game at winless and seemingly hopeless Arizona next week. After probably losing to the Rams at Century Link the following week, they play two more winless teams — the Raiders in London and, after a bye week, the Lions in Detroit. If you believe strongly in this team’s potential, the schedule sets up for them to be 4-3 by the end of October.

But after what we’ve seen in the first two games, I think they’re more apt to be 2-5 or even 1-6 after seven games. I would have picked them to beat Dallas until hearing about injuries that will likely sideline center Justin Britt and left guard Ethan Pocic. Presumably the Seahawks will move J.R. Sweezy from right guard to left guard, with D.J. Fluker returning to start at right guard. Undersized Joey Hunt will replace Britt at center.

Here’s the thing: the Seahawks’ offensive line was already a so-so to subpar unit. Now you take two starters away, and this would be definition of going from bad to worse. If they allowed 12 sacks and didn’t help much in the way of generating a running game, how much time do you think Russell Wilson will have to throw against the Cowboys, who recorded nine sacks in their first two games? And how much running room do you think Chris Carson will have?

Maybe Fluker’s return will help. But I’m skeptical. I know the Giants ran better when he played. But I also know that Fluker was part of a Giants’ line that was even worse than the Seahawks’ last year.

Just because the Seahawks are playing at home, I don’t think things are going to suddenly turn. Doug Baldwin’s still out, and so is K.J. Wright. How are they going to deal with Dallas’ pass rush and Ezekiel Elliott? Given the injury situation and the strong possibility that Elliott has a better day than Carson, I’m taking Dallas in a close one. Cowboys 21, Seahawks 20