Seahawks vs Cardinals keys to the game


The Seattle Seahawks (4-4) return home after two road games and a bye week to face the NFC West division leading Arizona Cardinals (6-2.) This is a key divisional matchup that has huge playoff implications. What do both teams need to do in order to win the game?

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Seattle Seahawks

1: Diagnose the Arizona defensive blitz. The Arizona Cardinals still blitz a lot despite Todd Bowles leaving. The Seahawks offense has struggled mightily against the blitz this year. The Cardinals will force the Seahawks to prove they can burn them on the blitz multiple times.

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Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line must correctly diagnose the Arizona blitzes and have hot routes and other tools ready to combat the blitz. When done correctly, the Seahawks have shown to be able to handle Arizona routinely.

2: Win the explosive plays battle. Pete Carroll prides himself on winning the turnover battle and there is good reason to do so. However, this year, explosive plays compared to the other team have arguably been a bigger factor in deciding Seahawk wins and losses.

It’s very simple, the Seahawks need to create explosive plays on offense and defend the Arizona Cardinals explosive play potential. Arizona is one of the best in the NFL at creating explosive plays. This will be a ratio to keep an eye on.

3: Run efficiently in early downs to help out Russell Wilson. The more you can put Arizona on their back foot, the better. You don’t want to encounter a lot of 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations against Arizona.

They will pin their heels back and send the pack of Cardinals after Wilson. Stay ahead of the chains. A big way to do this is to get Marshawn Lynch going early and often while netting positive yards to set up 2nd and 6’s and 3rd and 3’s.

4: Cary Williams, stand up? Cary Williams has had a roller coaster of a season with the Seattle Seahawks, filled mostly with frustrating performances from him that have caused the Seahawks to have Richard Sherman follow the opposing teams best receiving weapon.

Cary Williams will have to match up against Michael Floyd most likely for a large portion of the game. Cary must stand up. We’ve seen Michael Floyd score a game winning touchdown in Seattle before (2013) don’t let it happen again. Make your presence felt once again Cary.

5: Get after Carson Palmer. A team that gambles as much as Arizona means other teams can exploit them severely if they execute at a high level. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals love to throw it deep regardless the field position and regardless the down and distance.

Force Carson Palmer to make pinpoint accurate throws by getting immediate pressure on him, or get some sacks on him. When you hold onto the ball, it leaves plays out there for the defense to make whether it’s an interception or a sack.

Next: Marshawn Lynch questionable, what it means for Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals

1: Contain Marshawn Lynch. This should be the number 1 priority for the Arizona Cardinals. In a big time divisional game, Marshawn is a tone setter. If you can’t stop Marshawn, you likely can’t win. T

he Cardinals know first hand the damage and humiliation Marshawn can bring to your team when he ran for “Beastquake 2” on Sunday Night Football last year in Arizona. You cannot let Marshawn Lynch ruin your potential to get after Wilson and that offensive line. Get interior pressure early in the game and force Marshawn to get tackled for losses or bounce outside.

2: Unleash the hounds. The Seahawks offensive line, while slowly getting better, is still a very vulnerable group. The Seahawks offense has struggled vs the blitz big time. Unleash the hounds and get after them and force them to prove all game that they can stop the blitz. If they can’t stop the blitz, you can make it a very long day for the Seahawks offense and Russell Wilson.

3: Michael Floyd, make your mark. Larry Fitzgerald could very well be blanketed by Richard Sherman all game, and John Brown is questionable for the game. Michael Floyd was once seen as the heir to Fitzgerald, but has been up and down since those proclamations.

Michael Floyd will likely be matched up on Cary Williams, and Floyd needs to win his matchups. Michael Floyd needs to put his stamp on this game to help the Cardinals take the NFC West away from the Seahawks.

4: Don’t sleep on the Seattle receiving weapons. Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett have been making plays all year for the Seahawks and Wilson is trusting both of them more and more as the season goes on.

You have to defend against the quick strike possibility to those two and the explosive plays they can create when Russell Wilson scrambles. Force Russell Wilson to go to options like Baldwin and Kearse.

5: A balanced offense? The Seahawks have one of the best front 7’s in the NFL. The Cardinals love to throw it deep and get explosive plays. One way to keep the Seahawks guessing and on their heels is to effectively run the ball, which the Cardinals have proven capable of doing.

Chris Johnson has revitalized his career and somehow become more than just an elusive runner. He can run and lead into contact with his shoulder and get the tough yards. Seattle may be tough to run against, but very rarely do teams win being one dimensional against the Seahawks.