The Arizona Cardinals are the best team in the NFC West right now, but will face the reigning NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks, at CenturyLink Field on Sunday Night Football. The Seahawks have a distinct home field advantage that has the point spread favoring them at -3.0, but the Cardinals are playing better football. Could Arizona pull off the upset on prime time in a harsh environment?
Sunday Night Football:Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Point Spread: Seahawks -3 Over/under: 45 Date: Sunday, November 15, 8:30pm ET Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
What a difference a healthy quarterback makes. The +3 underdog Cardinals offense has been humming along with Carson Palmer at the helm and he will need to continue his excellent play against Seattle’s 2nd ranked defense. Arizona has done a good job of spreading the ball around with Larry Fitzgerald and young talent John Brown having strong seasons, but with Brown questionable to play, the remaining receivers will need to step it up to keep Seattle’s recently inconsistent secondary on their heels.
The Seahawks may have the 2nd ranked defense in the league, but the Cardinals are right behind them, ranked third overall. The weaknesses of Seattle’s offense play right into the strengths of Arizona’s stout run-stuffing defense. Containing Marshawn Lynch is the key to stalling the Seahawks as their numbers through the air have Seattle ranked close to dead last in the league. Close up the running lanes and force Russell Wilson to throw the ball.
This defense matches up well against the Cardinals offense, with enough talent in the secondary to match up well against Arizona’s stable of more-than-capable receivers. With Richard Sherman likely covering Fitzgerald and Kam Chancellor taking away the big play at safety, the biggest concern is in stopping a revived Chris Johnson on the ground. Seattle is giving up about 100 yards per game on the ground and would leave themselves vulnerable to big gains through the air if Johnson is able to get it going.
Give Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls the ball. That should be the game plan on offense. The two running backs have combined for nearly 1000 yards on the ground, despite Lynch missing a handful of games due to injury. The ability to score depends on the running game’s success. With Wilson and his receivers struggling, it’s fair to say they only find rhythm when they run the ball well. Arizona is allowing just 90 yards rushing per game, making it likely that Wilson will need to find a way to win through the air.
Sunday Night Football Prediction
If this game was being played in Arizona, the Cardinals would be favored, but winning in Seattle is something only a few teams have done in the last several years. This is going to be a low scoring, defensive affair, but right now, the Cardinals have just enough to stall the Seahawks at home.