Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals: Everything you need to know
My, how times have changed. Last season at this point, the Seahawks needed a win over Arizona to get into the playoffs. But the Cardinals won 26-24 at CenturyLink Field. Now, Seattle (9-6) has a playoff berth wrapped up while Arizona (4-11) is on the verge of securing the top pick in next year's NFL Draft.
Maybe the only lasting memory from today's game will be that was the final appearance for future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who in 15 years with Arizona has amassed over 16,000 yards with 115 receiving touchdowns.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Fitzgerald told reporters last week when asked if Sunday would be his final go around. "I’m just focused on trying to get this win in Seattle.”
Betting line: Seattle minus 13, over/under 38 1/2.
Time: 1:25 p.m., Sunday.
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Radio: Portland, KFXX, 1080 AM and Portland, KGON, 92.3 FM
Not one Seattle player is listed as being out, but left guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) might as well be. He is listed as doubtful even though Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he will not play but should return for the first round of the playoffs.
Listed as questionable are right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), safety Bradley McDougald (knee), defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), safety Tedric Thompson (knee) and running back Rashaad Penny (knee).
Thompson, like Sweezy, likely won't play while Fluker, McDougald and Penny will be gameday decisions, according to Carroll. Chances are that anyone who is even iffy won't see the field on Sunday.
For Arizona, TE Ricky Seals-Jones (shoulder) is out. Defensive ends Markus Golden (ankle) and Benson Mayowa (back/neck) are both questionable.
When the Seahawks have the ball
Arizona's defense is actually solid. In fact, the Cardinals made Seattle work hard during a 20-17 loss to the Seahawks at home in Week 4. The Cardinals also played well on defense a few weeks ago in a 26-14 loss at Kansas City.
Arizona is tied for sixth in the NFL with 43 sacks. Still, despite the pressure the Cardinals generate on quarterbacks they have managed to force just six interceptions, which is tied for 30th in the NFL.
Most importantly for Seattle, the Cardinals rank dead last in rushing defense allowing 153.1 yards per game with a league-leading 23 rushing touchdowns surrendered. In summation, Seattle's league-leading rushing attack should rack up 200-plus yards on the ground without breathing hard.
When the Cardinals have the ball
Arizona is absolutely horrible on offense. And that's putting it nicely.
The Cardinals, running with rookie QB Josh Rosen under center, rank dead last in yards per game (244.5) and scoring (13.4). Seattle averages 26.7 points per game to put Arizona's numbers into perspective.
Rosen has shown promise here and there but his 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with 39 sacks reveal a young quarterback in over his head. His best target is 35-year-old WR Larry Fitzgerald and there isn't a legitimate No. 2 receiver on the roster to speak of. RB David Johnson has been stonewalled operating behind a weak offensive line.
After having to contend with Kansas City's No. 1-ranked offense last Sunday night, Seattle should find Arizona to be quite easy to contend with.
Arizona coach Steve Wilks on QB Josh Rosen: “I think he’s progressed quite a bit. Difficulties right now is just dealing with a depleted offensive line in front of him (with) three rookies, but you’ve seen his development. You’ve seen his growth, his maturity, and I think he’s doing a good job.”
Pete Carroll on not letting up in the final game: "I particularly think it’s a part of the discipline of performance, that you don’t allow yourself to say that this game isn’t as important as some other game. I know that there are coaches – and you guys have all heard it for years – that you can only get up so many times a year. You can only have so many big games and all that. I just flat out know that’s not true."
Arizona should have no earthly chance to win this game and it would be in Seattle's best interest to end it as soon as possible and then remove key players from th contest.
Arizona allowed just 31 points to a highly-motivated Los Angeles Rams team last week, so this Cardinals' defense likely hasn't quit on the season and won't go down without a fight. That said, the Arizona offense will repeatedly put the defense into bad situations and Seattle will take advantage early and often. This game should play out very similarly to Seattle's 43-16 win over San Francisco at home four weeks ago.
Final score: Seattle 37, Arizona 17