We'll mention it again -- the Sunday Night Football tilt between the 11-3 Arizona Cardinals and 10-4 Seattle Seahawks is huge. It has playoff implications. It could determine the NFC West champions. It could determine home field in the playoffs.
Let's take a look at some matchups that matter in this game.
Arizona's pass rush vs. Seattle's banged up offensive line and Russell Wilson
The last time the two teams played, Arizona sacked Russell Wilson seven times. They should have had another three or four. Wilson's escapability allowed him to make plays. Seattle will be without starting left tackle Russell Okung and starting center Max Unger. Right tackle Justin Britt has struggled this season. Can the Arizona pass rush, which leads the NFL in sacks since Week 10, get to Wilson again?
Marshawn Lynch vs. Arizona's front seven
Lynch is the Seattle offense. If he is shut down, things are rough for the Seahawks. Arizona stopped him in their meeting in Seattle, holding him to 39 yards on 15 carries. However, great field position and rushing yards by Russell Wilson made up for it. Arizona will have to shut down Lynch again to have a chance.
Arizona's defense vs. Russell Wilson's legs
Wilson ran 10 times for 73 yards in the teams' last matchup. If Arizona shuts down Lynch but gives up that many yards to Wilson, the result will probably be the same as last time out. Arizona can get a pass rush. Can they stay disciplined and keep from flushing him into a big play?
Ryan Lindley vs. Seattle's secondary AND vs. the moment
Lindley has not had a bigger moment in his career. He may never play in a bigger game. Can he stay composed and focused, or will the moment be too big for him?
More importantly, will he be able to do anything against the Seattle secondary, which includes Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. He can't turn the ball over. Can he make plays down the field, or will he be dinking and dunking all day?
Arizona's rushing attack vs Seattle's rush defense
Seattle has allowed 100 yards rushing to a team only six times this season. However, they have lost four of those games. They held Arizona to 64 total rushing yards last time out. But Arizona has rushed for 140+ in each of their last two games and have done it against a couple of solid defenses in Kansas City and St. Louis. When the Cardinals won in Seattle last year, they did so rushing the ball over 30 times. They will need to do the same this game. If they can run the ball they way they have the last two weeks, they will have scoring opportunities.
If they can't move the ball on the ground and have to rely on Lindley's arm, it very likely could get ugly.