The Wild, Wild West

NFC Game Of The Week

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Seahawks: This is normally the time when they start to pick it up, dominate and have people talking, but as we approach week ten, I’ve noticed many more inconsistencies with this team than all the others under Pete Carroll. In week eight against the Houston Texans, the offense had to bail out the defense and they scored 41 points in a very thrilling game for the win and Russell had the best game of his career throwing for 402 yards passing and what really stood out to was his ability to make those passes with an offensive line that has struggled to protect him since trading away Max Unger. Last week against the Redskins, Seattle didn’t show up at all and it was really a bad effort all around as a team. The offense was extremely lethargic and looked flat throughout the game, Russell threw two interceptions after a big game the previous week and the defensive play calling was extremely questionable in the fourth quarter. The secondary was playing in bump and run coverage across the board and me personally, I would’ve run a cover two with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas playing deep because the Redskins were attacking the middle of the deep part of the field often and they let a team with struggling receivers on the perimeter hurt them. I’m still looking for their running game and after Chris Carson got hurt, it’s been nowhere to be found and if you want to really be honest with yourself, they haven’t had a consistent ground attack since the days of Marshawn Lynch. Right now, they’re looking up to the Rams in their division and they’ll face Arizona looking to get back on track.

Cardinals: It’s been a very roller coaster season for Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals. In week one, they lose David Johnson until December with a wrist injury but his agent stated that he won’t play at all this season. So, as a franchise, what do you do? You make a move and you acquire a veteran and they were able to snag Adrian Peterson from the Saints and since taking the field with Arizona, he’s looked like the guy we came to know in Minnesota that won an MVP. Throughout the off-season and early on in the season, I stated often that AP wasn’t a fit in New Orleans. He gets to Arizona, problem solved. Larry Fitzgerald even stated that if the team had acquired the running back many years back, the Cardinals would have a Super Bowl by now and he may be right because Arizona has always been a player away from finally getting over the hump and winning the big game. Last week, AP turned back the clock and carried the ball 37 times for 159 yards and wearing down the 49ers defense in the process (which I think anyone can do by now, it isn’t rocket science). Ever since Carson Palmer was sidelined due to injury, they haven’t looked bad without him and I’ve been stating on Twitter that if the Cardinals do indeed want to take that next step as a franchise, they need to move on from him. The Cardinals have had a soft schedule so far with wins over Tampa Bay, San Francisco twice and Indianapolis, all teams below .500. They do have a really good chance to re-enter their names back in the divisional conversation tonight with a win over Seattle.

Seahawks Player To Watch: Thomas Rawls– The running game made some immense improvements last week against Washington, but there is still room for improvement. Eddie Lacy is ruled out of this game with an injury. It’s all on Rawls now and he needs to be the guy to take the pressure off Wilson. Your quarterback shouldn’t be your leading rusher.

Cardinals Player(s) To Watch: The offensive line– Here’s my gameplan: Run it right at Frank Clark and Michael Bennett. Both those guys were on the field for 92 percent for most of the snaps, so it’s safe to say they will both be gassed. Another key to Peterson being successful tonight will be Arizona‚Äôs offensive line, which will try and impose its will by controlling the line of scrimmage.

Final Analysis: This is a must-win game for both teams and it’s almost certain that you will hear those two words affiliated with any football from here on out with the playoff picture slowly forming itself. Seattle lost a nailbiter to these guys on Christmas Eve last season and tied against them as well. If the Seahawks can get their running game going early and keep Wilson protected, they will be just fine. For Arizona, pace yourselves and play your own game.

Prediction: Seahawks 24 Cardinals 17