On any given Sunday in the NFL, any team can rise up and beat the other. When time allows, I will look at both how a Seahawks loss and a Seahawks win might play out in the upcoming game. Let’s start by exploring a potential loss.
Cardinal fans will tell you there is new hope with undrafted rookie Max Hall taking over for turnover prone Derek Anderson. They managed to knock off a good New Orleans team at home before their bye last week. Arizona scored 30 points despite only having 194 yards of offense. They did it with an astounding three defensive touchdowns, and four forced turnovers in all. In two of their three wins, they have scored either from special teams or from defense. The offense has struggled mightily, but may be getting back a few key parts in receivers Early Doucet and Steve Breaston. Even with that, any Cardinals win will likely be aided by turnovers and possibly a non-offensive touchdown.
Division games are tough no matter who the opponent runs out there. The Seahawks are coming off of a huge road win in Chicago that will have their confidence at a season-high. Watching the Cardinals on tape is not likely to scare anyone, especially knowing the 12th man will be a factor. That combination of pressure-relieving win, sub-par opponent, and overconfidence in playing home games could lead to a sloppy performance. The Cardinals need the Seahawks to play at least as poorly as they did in losses to St. Louis and Denver to have a shot. The Cardinals offense is not built for big comebacks, so any victory will include them getting a head start, perhaps shocking the home team into a battle they did not expect.
Seattle’s offense has been the weak spot thus far, and Arizona has been unable to hold a team under 20 points since their season-opener. The Cardinals will get a boost if Seattle’s offense turns anemic again, making this a low-scoring contest that could turn on Jon Ryan’s ability to punt effectively with bruised ribs.
There is no statistical story that points to a Cardinals victory. The only way they win is if they play their best game of the season and the Seahawks do not match their intensity. Games like this are all about mental preparation.