Much is at stake on Sunday night for the Seattle Seahawks when they meet the Arizona Cardinals. If Seattle wins this game they take over the lead in the division. Win in Seattle next Sunday and they are in line for the 1st or 2nd seed for the playoffs, with a little help from other teams. If the Seahawks lose this weekend, they can still make the play offs as a wild card. While this game looks like a slam dunk, it isn’t. Arizona, despite being decimated by injury, especially at quarterback, has found ways to win and go 5-3 since they lost Carson Palmer. Here is what the Seahawks must do to win this game and take that first step towards that #1 seed:
Let Russell Wilson run – Without Max Unger in at center, the offensive line is once again a leaky ship. In their last meeting Arizona sacked Wilson 7 times and their defensive front stonewalled Marshawn Lynch, holding him to a mere 39 yards rushing. Where Seattle had success was Russell Wilson’s legs as the QB racked up 73 yards on the ground running to and around the edges. The Cardinals lead the league stopping the run up the middle but their efficiency decreases significantly as the run moves out and away from the center. So, while he says he doesn’t like to run Russell, run!
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Get passes out quickly – Last time out Russell Wilson passed for 211 yards to 5 different receivers. Cooper Helfet is back this week and both Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have been more productive. If Russel can get the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately then they will have success again.
Rattle Ryan Lindley – Drew Stanton practiced this week, raising the possibility that he might actually play. However, Bruce Arians confirmed today Lindley will get the start. Lindley has started 4 games a pro and has zero touchdowns and 7 interceptions, with a qb rating of 44. If the Seattle can come out of the gate harassing him, the passing game would nearly negated . Even Larry Fitzgerald‘s return may not help.
Take away the ball – This game will be a perfect vehicle for an interception or two or three. If the defensive front does what they should, passes will be just as likely to land in the arms of a Seattle defender as a Cardinal receiver.
There is no letting up here. Much like the 2013 Seahawks, this Arizona team has produced improbable win after unlikely win, with plenty of disbelievers.. Since 1976 when such records started being kept, no 11-3 team has been an 8 point underdog at home. Whether that is respect for the Seahawks and/or disrespect for the Cardinals is hard to ascertain. What is certain is that this game is not a lock for Seattle or Arizona. Who ever comes out on top will have the bruises and bloody noses to prove it.