The Arizona Cardinals are 4-4 at the season's midway point -- and on Thursday, they'll look to move above .500 for the first time since 2015 when they face some familiar faces at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Russell Wilson and the 5-3 Seattle Seahawks will visit Glendale for a Thursday Night Football matchup with huge NFC West and playoff implications. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton, who led the Cards to a win over the 49ers last weekend, will try to guide Arizona to a victory over Seattle one year after the Cardinals and Seahawks fought to a bizarre 6-6 tie in the West Valley.
Will the Cardinals climb back into the playoff picture Thursday, or will the Seahawks silence the home fans? Here are some predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
The keys to this one are simple:
1. The Cardinals must slow down Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson leads the Hawks with 272 yards rushing and he’s thrown 17 touchdowns this season. If the Cards can slow him down, they have a chance.
2. The Seahawks must stop Adrian Peterson from running all over them. Peterson is coming off a huge performance in San Francisco. We’ll see how much he has left in the tank this week. If Seattle can slow him down, the pressure will then be on backup quarterback Drew Stanton.
Bottom line: It'll be another close, hard-fought battle at University of Phoenix Stadium. But I'm picking the road team.
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 19
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
The Cardinals have yet to beat the Seahawks in Glendale since they hired Bruce Arians as head coach four years ago. That skid won’t be snapped in 2017.
This would’ve been a much better matchup had the Cardinals not lost so many key players to injury in the first nine weeks of the season. It was a great battle last year, right? Well, that was with a healthy Markus Golden, David Johnson (who rushed for 113 yards), and Carson Palmer (who threw for 347 yards). Those players, and several others, will have to watch from the sideline this year.
Given, the Seahawks are fairly banged up, as well. And if safety Earl Thomas (hamstring) sits out, that does bode well for the Cardinals’ passing game, albeit a passing game led by career backup QB Drew Stanton. As for the Cardinals’ running game, I‘m anxious to see if the 32-year-old workhorse Adrian Peterson can be as effective against a team other than the lowly 49ers and Buccaneers.
For that reason, this should be a decently entertaining Thursday night game to watch. But in the end, I say the Seahawks handle the Cardinals this year at University of Phoenix Stadium with relative ease.
Seahawks 28, Cardinals 17
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
Drew Stanton has experience against the Seahawks, but it hasn't been good: He has completed 22 of 44 passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions in two appearances. The Seahawks have the NFL’s sixth-best pass efficiency defense this season, which doesn’t bode well for the career backup.
The good news is the Seahawks can be run on; their 4.3 yards per carry allowed is the ninth-worst mark in the NFL. Adrian Peterson is coming off an outstanding performance in San Francisco on Sunday — but after carrying the ball a career-high 37 times, will the 32-year-old be physically able of an encore just four days later?
The Cardinals’ defense dominated Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in that infamous tie game in Glendale last year. But this year’s Cards defense just isn’t as good following the losses of key players to free agency. Seattle’s offensive line is poor, but Wilson is a magician, and he’ll make enough plays to overcome the Cards on Thursday.
Seahawks 24, Cardinals 13