Amari Cooper had been considered a mild disappointment since the Raiders drafted him fourth overall in 2015. Despite two 1,000-yard seasons, the inconsistency and drops contributed to Cooper becoming the latest victim of Jon Gruden’s housecleaning. But Cooper has thrived in Dallas, shaking off a slow start to end the year with his third 1,000-yard season. Will Cooper continue his resurgence with a score on Saturday night against the Seahawks?
Will Amari Cooper score a touchdown?
“No” is favored, and that’s understandable. Though Cooper has received credit for turning his season around, his production remained wildly inconsistent. In nine games with the Cowboys, Cooper caught 53 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns. But 397 of those yards (55 percent) and five of those touchdowns came in the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving win over the Redskins and a Week 14 overtime win against the Eagles. In the other seven games, he averaged 47 yards and scored once.
After the Philadelphia game, things got particularly bleak for Cooper. In Dallas’ final three games, he averaged 28 yards per game and didn’t score. One could make the argument that Cooper’s Week 17 performance shouldn’t count since it was meaningless for Dallas, but that wasn’t quite the case. Cooper played 85 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, which led the receiving corps. Dak Prescott played every snap. The Cowboys had their second-highest scoring game of the season and Cooper’s 11 targets were his second-most as a Cowboy. Still, he managed only five receptions for 31 yards and no scores.
Since joining the Cowboys, Cooper has been targeted in the red zone nine times. He has four receptions for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, two of those receptions, 25 yards and one touchdown came in the aforementioned Eagles game. His other two red zone receptions were a four-yard touchdown against Tennessee in his Dallas debut and a seven-yard loss against Tampa Bay.
As for player history, Cooper has appeared in the postseason once and played the Seahawks once. The postseason game was on Wild Card Weekend two years ago, when the Raiders finished 12-4, but were the AFC’s fifth seed. Cooper caught two of 10 targets for 10 yards. In Cooper’s defense, Connor Cook made his first career start in that game after injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. Cook went 18-for-45 with 161 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
Cooper’s matchup with the Seahawks came in London earlier this year in what would be his final game with the Raiders. Cooper gets an “incomplete” because he only played 12 of 60 snaps, putting him well behind Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts and Martavis Bryant. Cooper was not targeted in the 27-3 loss.
What we can say is the Seahawks would not be considered a particularly good matchup in this scenario. They’ve allowed 15 touchdowns to receivers this season. — 12 teams have allowed fewer.
However, there are a couple of things going in Cooper’s favor. First, Seattle has allowed a touchdown to a receiver in each of the last two weeks. Patrick Mahomes connected with Demarcus Robinson in Week 16 and Larry Fitzgerald scored in Week 17.
The best indication Cooper will score is the fact that Seattle’s top cornerback, Shaquill Griffin, left Seattle’s win over Arizona with an ankle injury and still hasn’t practiced this week. Akeem King would presumably make his first career start in Griffin’s absence.
So will Cooper score this week? His unpredictability makes it a tough call. He’ll probably end the game with 40 yards and no score, but he might be due for one of his 200-yard, three-score performances. The odds for “yes” aren’t that great, but Cooper’s chances for a monster game definitely improve if Shaquill Griffin is sidelined. So let’s say “no” if Griffin plays and “yes” if he doesn’t.
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