From the point that Ezekiel Elliott dropped his fight against Roger Goodell and accepted his six-game suspension, the Dallas Cowboys had the goal of merely staying in the playoff race in the NFC. They’ve accomplished their goal, albeit by the slimmest of margins, and they’ll need to win in Week 16 and in Week 17 plus get a lot of help just to get into the postseason.
However, Elliott is back, and his return is making headlines across the football world. Elliott looks fitter and better conditioned now than he was after the first eight games of the campaign, and that could be scary news for the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.
The Seahawks are still fighting for their playoff lives as well, and the loser of this game will be eliminated from playoff contention.
One would like to think that the Cowboys will be riding their running back as hard as they can after his hiatus, but running against the Seahawks isn’t always the easiest thing to do in the world.
Elliott had the ball in his hands a minimum of 26 times over the course of the last four games before his suspension took effect, and he rushed for at least 93 yards in all of those games.
Thus, it’s a bit surprising that the oddsmakers have released Elliott with an over/under of 92.5 yards in his return game at home against Seattle. Elliott has reached 93 yards in five of his eight games this season, and he did so in 11 of his 17 games last year if you include the postseason loss to Green Bay.
The remarkable thing about Elliott is that he rarely seems to have an awful game. If you take away the very first game of his career against the Giants, he didn’t have a single game in his rookie season in which he averaged less than 3.9 yards per carry. This season, the sledding has been a little tougher, but Elliott reached at least 4.0 yards per carry in five of his nine games.
If Elliott manages to run for even 3.75 yards per carry, he would only need to run the ball 25 times to get to 93 yards.
On one glance, you’d think that might be a bit on the tough side against the vaunted Seattle defense. However, the Seahawks only rank No. 17 in the NFL against the run, and they’re allowing 4.1 yards per carry this season.
Todd Gurley just rumbled for 152 yards and three touchdowns against Seattle last week, and Leonard Fournette ran for 101 yards the week prior for Jacksonville.
Elliott is also a -249 favorite to score a touchdown in this game. The Seahawks have conceded five touchdowns to primary ball carriers in their last two games.
Elliott had scored a touchdown in five of his last six games before his suspension and found the end zone a total of nine times in that stretch.
Ezekiel Elliott Total Rushing Yards in Week 16
Over 92.5 +100
Under 92.5 -130
Ezekiel Elliott Total Touchdowns in Week 16
Over 0.5 -249
Under 0.5 +180
(Odds Courtesy of BookMaker.eu)