Well, well, well, look who’s in primetime two weeks in a row?
That’s right, your Arizona Cardinals have another marquee matchup this week after our Week 7 game against the Seahawks was flexed into the Sunday night slot. The Seahawks are 5-0 behind an MVP-frontrunning performance from Russell Wilson and come into the matchup as solid 3.5-point road favorites.
Do the Redbirds have a chance in this one? Here are two reasons why the do, and two why they don’t.
We don’t have a chance because of… Russell Wilson.
We’ll start with the obvious one. What Russ has done so far this season is just silly. Look at these numbers: 78/107 (72.8%) for 1,502 yards with 19 TDs and only 3 INTs—an incredible 61-TD pace. It all adds up to a 129.6 QB rating, which would be highest of all time. And that completion percentage would be top-5 all time. He’s been a wizard with the football, shredding every defense he’s faced and bailing the Seahawks’ awful defense (see below) out with late-game heroics. But it’s worth noting that he has piled up those numbers against an easy slate of pass defenses—only the Patriots are in the top half of the league. Can the Redbirds’ #11 pass defense at least contain him? He’ll be—by far—the best QB we’ve faced yet. I don’t see us slowing him down, so we’re going to have to outscore him. Fortunately…
We have a chance because of… the Seahawks’ defense.
Wilson has had to be every bit as sensational as he’s been because the Seahawks’ defense has been so abysmal. Especially the passing defense, which is dead-last in the league, giving up an astounding 370.4 YPG. The Legion of Boom is long, long gone. They’ve been strong against the run (100.8 YPG, #7 in the league), but that’s mostly because they’ve faced the fourth-fewest attempts in the league as most of their games have turned into aerial shootouts. The Redbirds will likely try to continue the “Ground Raid” approach that’s been working for them lately to try to keep Wilson off the field, but don’t be surprised if this turns into another QB duel. Better hope DeAndre Hopkins is fully healthy for this one. Seattle hasn’t been beat yet this season, but when they do lose a game—hopefully Sunday night—it won’t be because of Wilson. It’ll be because of the defense.
We don’t have a chance because of… history.
This has been a strange rivalry in recent years. Since 2013, the home team is just 2-11-1 in this rivalry—including an 0-6-1 record for the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. That’s right, as most Cardinals fans know, we haven’t beaten the Seahawks at home since Wilson’s rookie season, 2012—the same season the beat us 58-0 in their house. So the Seahawks should be feeling plenty confident heading into this matchup, as they should. And they won’t even have the usual “Red Sea” crowd to deal with—although there will be a small allotment of fans (1200) peppering the stands. The Cardinals will probably need every edge they can get in this game, but an assist from the crowd won’t be one of them as they try to end this winless streak.
We have a chance because of… breakout players.
I’ve been pretty hard on some of our slow-starting players. But a lot of those players got right in the Dallas game. Kenyan Drake ran hard and decisively in his biggest game since last season. Christian Kirk finally stepped up behind Hopkins as a legit #2 WR. Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy suffocated the talented Dallas receiving corps all game long. Even Isaiah Simmons played a season-high 21 defensive snaps and notched 4 tackles and a pass defended. Granted, the Cowboys were missing a plethora of key players and basically rolled over after two Zeke fumbles in the first quarter, but it was still a primetime game against a team still considered a rival, so props to these guys for breaking out of their varying slumps and playing their best games of the season. We’ll need these guys to continue playing well if we want to hang with the only undefeated team in the NFC.
This game will teach us more about this team than the last six combined. I know I’ll feel pretty good as long as it’s a close game, win or lose. What about you, readers? How do you like our chances on Sunday night? Give us your thoughts or predictions in the comments.