Seahawks, Cowboys proving prognosticators wrong all the way to a playoff showdown

Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to their first win of the season Sept. 23 against the Cowboys at CenturyLink Field. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

After starting the season 0-2, the Seahawks’ odds of making the playoffs appeared slim.

At the time, the website fivethirtyeight.com listed those chances at 26 percent. Even beating Dallas in Week 3 only inched that number up slightly.

But Seattle won the following week in Arizona and ultimately reeled off 10 wins in the final 14 games of the season to clinch a playoff spot.

Now, the Seahawks will face the Cowboys again Saturday in the Wild Card round at 5:15 p.m. in Dallas. Pregame coverage kicks off at 2 p.m. on Q13 FOX.

“The great thing about this team, is the fact that everybody was telling us we couldn’t (do it),” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said Wednesday.

Getting back to the playoffs after the early-season setbacks showed resiliency, he said.

“I think it shows the will of this team,” Wilson continued. “It shows the heart of this team. It shows the mindset of this team.”

They were not the only team nearly counted out.

Chris Carson ran for 102 yards against the Cowboys in Week 3 and finished the season with 1,151 yards rushing. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

After falling to 1-2 after the loss to Seattle, the Cowboys stumbled to 3-5 and were listed as having just a 10 percent chance to earn a playoff berth midway through the season.

Then they won seven of their final eight games.

“I just think over the course of the early part of the season, we learned a lot,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said this week.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll agreed the two teams shared similar paths.

“We both started slowly,” he said. “Then somewhere in there we kind of found our stride.”

Seattle credits a commitment to the running game for sparking its revival.

The Cowboys also made adjustments on offense, perhaps most notably adding star wide receiver Amari Cooper via trade.

“He’s got everything, so he’s a fantastic player,” Carroll said of Cooper this week. “It’s a great boost to his team in picking him up.”

Carroll pointed out that this is not the first time the Seahawks have rallied late in the year.

“You can grow a lot though (during a season) and we’ve done it many times before,” he said. “It’s not a surprise really how this has happened. We’ve got years that look very similar when you look at our track record.”

Even after struggling last season to a 1-3 finish, the Seahawks lead the NFL with the most regular-season wins (44) in November, December and January since 2012.

It’s a formula both Seattle and Dallas followed this year to earn a rematch nearly four months after they exited CenturyLink Field at 1-2.

On Saturday, one of the two team’s resurgence will continue.