Each week I will try to look at the upcoming game from both sides. First, let’s see what a Seahawks loss might look like.
Seattle is decimated by injuries. The best-case scenario has the Seahawks fielding one of their three run-stuffing defensive lineman. The Cardinals were the first team all season to run for over 100 yards against the Seahawks as a team. It was an impressive accomplishment because it came when the Seahawks were healthy on defense and at Qwest field with absolutely no threat of a passing game. All of those factors should have led to Seahawks dominance, but it did not. Now, the Cardinals didn’t exactly light the world on fire with 113 yards rushing (3.5 YPC), but when you translate that to this week, things get a little more concerning. Colin Cole and Red Bryant are out. The game is in Arizona. The Seahawks are reeling from two massive blowouts. Those factors should mean the Cardinals will be able to run with success against Seattle. Any Cardinals victory will certainly include over 110 yards rushing as a team.
Increased focus and success running the ball should open up some simple passing options off of play-action. Simple passes are about the only thing Arizona can reasonably attempt given their struggles in that area. It does not matter much whether Derek Anderson or Max Hall ends up as QB. Both are no better than Charlie Whitehurst, and may be worse. Larry Fitzgerald shockingly had his first 100-yard receiving game of the season last week.You have to be a terrible QB to take nine weeks to get Fitz 100 yards. The Cardinals passing game has been so bad that it cannot be used as a barometer for their wins/losses since it’s almost always been poor. Even an interception or two won’t spell certain defeat for Arizona.
The Cardinals defense has been a play-making machine.They had two more interceptions last week, and were 1-yard away from another defensive TD. Special teams did manage a return TD last week. A Cardinals victory will likely include at least a couple of game-changing turnovers or returns. The Cardinal offense is not reliable enough to move down the field consistently on their own.
Scoring will be at a premium for both teams. Twenty points should be more than enough to win this game. In fact, getting to twenty points may be a precursor to a blowout for whichever side gets there. Arizona has played well in their last two games despite losing both of them. They have the momentum, which speaks more about the state of the Seahawks than it does about the Cardinals. The Cardinals should win this game, and possibly by a large margin, if they can avoid some of the devastating mistakes that have characterized their season.