Seahawks should be wary of the Cardinals, as always

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks face the mother of all trap games this Sunday. It would be, that is, except Pete Carroll knows all too well how dangerous the Cardinals are.

At 4-9-1, the Cardinals aren’t exactly good, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks can coast to a win this Sunday. Arizona has a long history of giving Seattle fits, even when the gents in navy and gray have nominally been the superior team. I see no reason to expect this contest to be any different than so many in the past.

For one thing, we can ignore the 27-10 win the Hawks posted earlier this year in the desert. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was leading an NFL team for only the fourth time. Since that game, he’s significantly improved his performance. Murray’s passer rating versus the Seahawks was just 77.7. Since then, his rating is approximately 92.3. He’s improved his touchdown to interception ratio from 4-4 to 13-6. Murray is also the only quarterback in the league who’s thrown for 3,000 yards and run for 500. I’m not saying he’s Russell Wilson, or Patrick Mahomes, or Lamar Jackson – but he isn’t Josh Rosen, either.

The Seahawks have more than Murray to worry about. Running back David Johnson gouged Seattle for 99 yards through the air in the first meeting. He appears to be done, with 95 total yards from scrimmage in his last six games. Arizona picked up a solid replacement during Miami’s fire sale in Kenyan Drake. In his six games as a Cardinal, he’s totaled 547 yards. That includes 162  yards from scrimmage versus the Niners in his Cardinals debut. Last week he slashed through the Browns for 146 combined yards and four touchdowns.  He’s never been consistent, but when he blows up, he really blows up.

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Arizona has a few decent weapons at receiver, but Larry Fitzgerald is still the class of the group. While I cannot confirm that he caught passes from Dan Marino at Pitt, I cannot deny these rumors, either. By his ridiculous standards, he isn’t having a great year, as he only has three touchdown catches. But he’s still over 700 yards and his catch rate is the highest it’s been in three years. He’s faced Seattle 30 times, and it’s never an easy assignment to contain him. He caught all five of his targets in week four, but couldn’t find the end zone. Still, he’s Larry freakin’ Fitzgerald, so I’m concerned. Especially as it looks like Quandre Diggs will sit this one out.

The Cardinals are sending to players to the Pro Bowl, both on defense. That’s right, the team that’s lost more than twice as many games as they’ve won has the same number of Pro Bowlers as the Seahawks. I’ll admit, one of these guys should be going, though. End/LB Chandler Jones already has 15 sacks and 19 quarterback hits. He also seems to have an express pass to the Seahawks backfield. In eight games, he has 9.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits. In short, he’s a nightmare for Russell Wilson.

Free safety Budda Baker is the Cards’ second representative. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve the nod, but he has zero picks, has defended six passes, given up four touchdowns, and allowed a passer rating of 124.3. Not that I’m complaining, but Bradley McDougald has two picks, broken up five passes, given up zero touchdowns, and allowed a passer rating of 54.3.  I think I know who’d I’d rather have defending on the last play of the game. Again, not saying Baker is bad, but draw your own conclusions.

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Regardless of the Pro Bowl follies, the Cardinals almost always play the Seahawks tough. I say almost because the Hawks trip to Arizona proved to be their easiest win. To be honest, it was Seattle’s only easy win this season. Obviously, Arizona has not become Seattle’s next big rival. That doesn’t mean this game can be taken lightly. Especially not with the Niners waiting for revenge.