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Why the Seahawks game this week for the Cardinals has historical significance

While the Cardinals 35-3 win in Philly was special, a win over the Seahawks could be the most important win of the season

Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No question about it, the Cardinals’ epic 35-31 upset win over the Eagles in Philadelphia, was the sweetest win for the Cardinals this season.

The question is — would a Cardinals upset win over the Seahawks at home in the last game of the season be even sweeter?

Before I ask for your vote in today’s ROTB Poll, let’s take a close look at the historical significance of this week’s game.

Since the Cardinals joined the NFC West in 2003, they have never finished a season with an 0-6 record in the division. As we know, the Cardinals current record in the NFC West is 0-5.

To make matters worse, all 5 of the Cardinals’ NFC West games this year have been dominated by their rivals to the tune of 163-78 points—- an average of 32.6 to 16.3.

In Kyler Murray’s two games versus the NFC West, the team has been outscored 82-43, which has dropped his 5-year career record versus the NFC West to 5-17, 0-1 in playoffs.

The Cardinals under Jonathan Gannon have fared better versus other divisions this season:

  • 2-2 vs. NFC East
  • 1-3 vs. AFC North
  • 1 -3 vs. 4th place teams in 2022: ATL, HOU and NE

Arizona Cardinals History vs. NFC West and the Seattle Seahawks:

  • 2003-2004 —- Dave McGinnis —- 3-9 vs, NFC West —- 0-2 vs. SEA
  • 2005-2006 —--Dennis Green —- 7-5 —- 1-3
  • 2007-2012 —- Ken Whisenhunt —- 19-17 —- 6-6 (note: Pete Carroll’s 1st year in SEA was 2010 and Whisenhunt’s teams went 1-3 vs. Carroll’s)
  • 2013-2017 —- Bruce Arians —- 16-13-1 —- 4-6
  • 2018 —- Steve Wilks —- 2-4 —- 0-2
  • 2019-2022 —- Kliff Kingsbury —- 8-16 —- 3-5

It can be argued that the nadir of the Arizona Cardinals franchise came in Seattle in 2011 when Pete Carroll’s Seahawks crushed the Cardinals 58-0. Ken Whisenhunt had more than held his own in the division before that (winning the division twice), but that embarrassing loss at the hands of the Legion of Boom led to Whisenhunt’s and GM Rod Graves’ ousters, with Michael Bidwill taking over as Team President and the promotion of Steve Keim to GM and the hiring Bruce Arians as head coach.

Bruce Arians had a sweet little road win run at Lumen field versus Peter Carroll, highlighted by the Andre Ellington TD scamper that led to Drew Stanton’s legendary sideline dance.

And if you recall, BA won his last game as a Cardinal in SEA, 26-24, On that day, in order to make the playoffs, the 9-6 Seahawks needed to beat the Cardinals and have the Panthers beat the 9-6 Falcons. After the Falcons knocked off the Panthers, the Seahawks, regardless of whether they would win, were eliminated.

Pete Carroll — the Nemesis Part I:

But Pete Carroll got his revenge in the last game of the Cardinals’ fantastic 2015 season when he elected not to rest his starters (with a playoff berth already secured) and went into State Farm Stadium and pasted a 36-6 butt kicker on the Cardinals. Both teams would go on to win one playoff game and then lose on the road to the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks by 31-24 and the Cardinals by 49-15.

Kliff Kingsbury had 3 impressive wins over the Seahawks:

  • In Kliff’s first season, the late season upset 27-13 win in SEA when SEA was trying to vie for the #1 seed in NFC.
  • In Kliff’s 2nd season, the 37-34 OT Thursday Night Football thriller.
  • In Kliff’s 3rd season, the clutch 23-13 win in SEA with Colt McCoy at QB.
  • Pete Carroll — the Nemesis Part II:

But, once again, Pete Carroll got his revenge on the Cardinals in Arizona on the last game of the 2021 season —- when, with seemingly nothing to play for —- the Seahawks, in what turned out to be Russell Wilson’s last game with the franchise —- pulled off the 38-30 upset. This Seahawk win prevented the Cardinals from winning the NFC West and from hosting a first-round Wild Card game.

Recap of the Seahawks 20-10 win over the Cardinals in Week 7 this year:

In the first meeting at Lumen Field in Week 7, Nick Rallis did an excellent job of limiting the SEA offense to 20 points, thanks in large part to Garrett Williams’ interception of Geno Smith in the red zone and Kevin Strong Jr.’s recovery of a Smith fumble.

In the first half, after an early 28-yard TD pass from Geno Smith to Jaxson Smith-Njigba, the Cardinals took a 10-7 first half lead on a 25-yard TD run by Josh Dobbs.

However, SEA answered right before the end of the half with a nifty 18-yard TD pass from Geno Smith to Jake Bobo.

SEA, aided by Kenneth Walker’s 105 rushing yards on 26 carries, kicked two FGs in the 2nd half to seal the 20-10 win.

The Cardinals were without RB James Conner. However, Emari Demercado answered the bell with 58 yards on 13 carries (4.5 ave.).

Josh Dobbs struggled in the passing game finishing 19-33 for 146 yards and 0 TDs. Marquise Brown led the Cardinals on that day with 3 catches for 49 yards (16.3 ave.)..

The fact that the Cardinals will have James Conner and Kyler Murray in the lineup this time around should be a boost, particularly if they and the Cardinals surging offensive line can build on the momentum they generated in Philly.

Last week one of the main reasons the Seahawks lost to the Steelers 30-23 was rushing versus the SEA front for 202 yards, with Najee Harris going for 122 yards, Jalen Warren for 75.

On defense, the Cardinals are going to have to slow down Kenneth Walker (as a runner and receiver —- just ask Kyren Williams and Christian McCaffrey) and play pesky coverage on D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, JSN and Noah Fant. Somehow, someway the Cardinals are going to need to manifest a strong pass rush on Geno Smith. The game sealing play for the Steelers over SEA was Nate Herbig’s strip-sack of Smith with 7:07 left in the 4th quarter.

Can the Cardinals Knock out the coach who knocked out Whisenhunt, Arians and Kingsbury?

Two years ago, the Cardinals were playing to try to win the NFC West in the last game of the season at home versus the Seahawks. The Seahawks were a disappointing 5-10 team with seemingly nothing to play for but NFC West pride.

The repercussions of the Cardinals’ 38-30 loss to the Seahawks turned out to be a drastic harbinger for the Cardinals’ blowout playoff loss to the Rams, an off-season mired in drama and hosts of players skipping OTAs, the star WR incurring a 6-week PED suspension, Kyler Murray’s worst season as a pro and Vance Joseph’s 31st ranked defense, which culminated in the firing of GM Steve Keim, HC Kliff Kingsbury and the vast majority of the coaching staff.

This year the Seahawks are playing their last game of the season in Arizona to try to win an NFC wild card ticket to the playoffs. This time the 4-win Cardinals have seemingly nothing to play for but NFC West pride.

There are some rumors circling, as they sometimes do this time of year, about Pete Carroll’s future in SEA if they do not make the playoffs. Pete Carroll’s record with SEA versus the Cardinals is 27-14. He’s taken down the Cardinals at the end of both of their most promising seasons in 2015 and 2021. A win this week could be the Cardinals’ best chance to knock him out of the division.

For those of you worried about where the Cardinals pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Seahawks went on to pick 9th in the 2022 NFL Draft and turned in what is arguably their best draft since they drafted the likes of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and the Legion of Boom.

  • Pick #9: Charles Cross, T, Mississippi St. —- starting LT —- 67.6
  • Pick # 40: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota —-starting DE —- 74.0 —- 9 sacks 56 QB pressures
  • Pick #41: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan St. —- bell cow RB —- 81.6
  • Pick #72: Abraham Lucas, T, Washington St. —-starting RT —- 68.4 as rookie (now back from injury after missing 8 games, 53.1 thus far this year)
  • Pick #109: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati —- nickel 55.8 as rookie converted to safety
  • Pick #153 Tariq Woolen, CB, Texas San-Antonio —- starting RCB —- Pro Bowl as rookie 69.1, 68.5 this year

One could argue that if there was a 2022 NFL Draft re-draft Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Kenneth Walker III and Tariq Woolen would be graded as 1st rounders. All 4 of them.

ROTB Poll:

Poll

Would a Cardinals upset win over the Seahawks at home this week be even sweeter that the "Philly Special?"

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Yes, not going 0-6 in NFC West for the 1st time ever and knocking Pete Carroll’s Seahawks out of playoffs would be extra sweet
    (118 votes)
  • 16%
    Nothing can top the Philly Special
    (41 votes)
  • 32%
    No, the team’s draft position is more important
    (79 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (4 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now

This is a coach who gets it: