The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are set to face off this Sunday in their first of two head to head matchups this season. Both teams are coming off bitter losses in which they lost by three scores. The game will also feature two hobbled quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. Murray’s status for Sunday’s game is currently in jeopardy, however head coach Kliff Kingsbury mentioned that he is trending towards playing for the first time in three weeks.
The Seahawks and Cardinals are known to play close games, and it’s likely this Sunday will follow the trend. Arizona currently sits atop the NFC as the number one seed with an 8-2 record while Seattle remains at the tail end of wild card contention with a 3-6 record.
Seattle’s defense will look to build upon momentum from their past four weeks in which the unit has ranked top ten overall in the league. On the flip side of the ball, Russell Wilson will surely be looking to rebound off an ugly loss against the Packers in which he threw for two interceptions and got shut out. He should have a difficult time, as his number one target DK Metcalf has historically been quiet against the Cardinals. In four career games vs Arizona, Metcalf only has six receptions for 75 yards and a single touchdown.
For the Seahawks offense to get going, look for Pete Carroll and co. to play a more balanced attack than last week’s outing. Carroll stated numerous times during interviews after Week 10, that the team “needs to return to the run.” Balance is key for the team’s success, as well as total time of possession. Throughout the first 10 weeks, Seattle’s offense ranks dead last in the league wide average time of possession. Establishing an efficient run game should help boost those numbers.
The Cardinals have lost two of their last three, but their defensive play has remained elite. In their previous game against the Panthers, the Cardinals only allowed 175 yards passing and only 5.3 yards per attempt. Add in the fact that the Cardinals and Seahawks are divisional foes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Arizona defense take over the game this Sunday. Robert Alford and Bryon Murphy are two great cornerbacks who matchup well against the high powered Seattle receivers.
Weather this time of the year usually impacts games played in Seattle, however it’ll likely have no impact this Sunday, as the forecasts show the temperatures will remain in the mid to high 40s with no rain.
Final Prediction: 17-13 Seattle
Key to Victory: Seattle offense vs Arizona Defense
The Seahawks defense will likely be able to keep the team in the game, but their offense has to get going soon. How will Wilson, Metcalf, and Lockett fare against the Cardinals high powered defense? Will the Seahawks be able to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and sustain longer drives?
Really, this game is the season for Seattle. If they lose, their odds of making the playoffs drop to below 5%. Russell Wilson has nearly always delivered in high pressure situations and I expect him to do so once again this Sunday. The combination of a successful run game and longer drives should allow for the Seattle offense to return back on track, but it won’t be easy going up against the star studded Arizona defense.