GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals are trying to make a push up the NFC West standings. The problem is the division's other three teams aren't going to budge easily. The Cardinals have won two straight games and have a 4-2 record. They'll host the undefeated Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
Can the Cardinals make a dent in the Seahawks' lead in the division? Here are predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
Sports Director Craig Fouhy
A huge NFC West showdown between two teams at the top of the standings. The Seahawks come into the game with the NFL’s 4th best passing offense, while the Cardinals enter Sunday’s game with the 4th best rushing attack averaging 161-yards-per-game on the ground.
Like Monday night’s blowout in Dallas, this one could come down to the Cardinals defense and how effectively it can stop Russell Wilson and the Hawks receivers. Wilson is 13th in passing yards (1,502) while Kyler Murray is 14th in the same category (1,487).
The good news for Arizona is the fact that Seattle has the league’s worst pass defense, giving up 370.4 yards-per-game. That could mean a break-out game for Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals game plan must include throwing the ball until the worst pass defense in the league can stop you. A nice mix of run and pass would seem like the best plan. Use the pass to open up the run.
On the ground, Kenyan Drake comes into the game as the 4th best running back with 478-yards, averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. The Seahawks run defense is 7th-best, but the Hawks are still giving up over 100-yards-per-game.
The Cardinals are on a short week after the Monday night game in Dallas, so rest is key for the guys in the desert, while the Seahawks are coming off a bye week, so they’ll be plenty rested.
Russell Wilson vs. Kyler Murray should be fun to watch, but I think the Cardinals surprise Seattle and get a win!
Prediction: Cardinals 32, Seattle 30
Sports Reporter Collin Harmon
It’s only fitting that the top two teams from the best division in the NFL now meet under the marquee of Sunday Night Football. The Cardinals showed on Monday night that they like playing on the big stage, but the 5-0 Seahawks are a much different beast than the Cowboys.
Seattle leads the league in points scored, while the Cardinals are second in points allowed. Seattle is 4th in passing offense, the Cardinals are 12th in passing defense. Something has to give. Can the Cards secondary play like they did against Dallas and shut down the Seahawks downfield passing game led by MVP-front runner Russell Wilson?
The flip side of the football is where the Cardinals can really take advantage. This isn’t your typical Seahawks defense that we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Not even close. They rank dead last in the NFL in passing yards and total yards allowed. Kyler Murray hasn’t shown the ability to be consistent throwing the ball this season, but if he can get into an early rhythm and be accurate with the football, the Cardinals can pile up some chunk plays in a hurry.
Seattle is one of three teams left unbeaten in the NFL, but they certainly haven’t been as dominant as their record indicates. Four of their five games have been decided by one possession, with wins over the Vikings, Dolphins, Cowboys, Patriots and Falcons. Not exactly some world-beaters they’ve squeaked out wins against.
Recent history in the matchup isn’t on the Cardinals side this weekend. Over the last seven seasons, the Cards are 5-2 in Seattle and 0-6-1 in Glendale. Those numbers don’t mean much though, other than being quite the oddity.
Here are the numbers that I think will ultimately tell the tale: 4-8. That’s the record of teams coming off of a MNF game the following Sunday this season. Not only is it a short week for the Cardinals, but Seattle has had two weeks to prepare for this game coming off of their bye week.
Prediction: Seahawks 34, Cardinals 23