The hopeful Arizona Cardinals continue to get their season back on track as they host the Seattle Seahawks in Arizona’s third consecutive prime time game. The Seahawks (4-1) are coming off of a controversial 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (3-3) beat the New York Jets 28-3 in dominating fashion.
History: The Cardinals and the Seahawks have faced each other 34 times in the regular season, with the Cardinals playing 2 of these games as the St. Louis Cardinals. Arizona has an all time17-17 record against Seattle. The last win against the Seahawks came in Week 10 of last season when the Cardinals beat the Seahawks on the road 39-32 on Sunday Night Football.
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What: Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
When: 5:30 PM Arizona Time (8:30 PM EST)
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) avoids the tackle attempt of New York Giants cornerback Buster Skrine (41) as he scores a first quarter touchdown at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to victory, Offense:
Quarterback Carson Palmer injured his hamstring in Monday’s win over the Jets, and was barely practiced all week. While he is listed as questionable, Palmer is expected to play without any limitation according to Bruce Arians.
Palmer may end up having to bear the offensive load as the Seahawks boast the league’s third best run defense. While David Johnson is expected to receive a lot of carries, he may have a tough time finding gaps against a front seven featuring Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor. A majority of his contribution may end up coming through the air.
On the injury side, Mike Iupati will return to the offensive line after missing last week’s game with an ankle injury. Jaron Brown practiced in a limited fashion on Friday and is listed as questionable. John Brown is listed as doubtful after a blood test revealed he carries the sickle-cell trait.
With the possibility of being shorthanded two receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the receiving corp will have to put in the extra effort to create separation. Michael Floyd has had big games against the Seahawks in the past, and figures to play a huge part in the passing game.
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger (left) intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to victory, Defense
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is playing through injuries to his knees and ankle. With his mobility an essential non factor, and playing behind a porous offensive line, the defense should have plenty of opportunities to put him under pressure.
Seahawks running back Christine Michael has been playing relatively well as the starting back. In three games, Michael has rushed for 228 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Arizona’s defense has successfully stopped the run for the most part this and should not have a problem stopping Michael.
Tight ends have burned the Cardinals for a good part of the last few seasons and will be facing an elite tight end in Seahawks Jimmy Graham. Tony Jefferson and possibly Deone Bucannon will need to make sure he’s held in check in the red zone and is brought down immediately after a catch.
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians against the New York Jets at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals desperately need to win this game to keep themselves in the hunt for the NFC West division title. A key factor to getting this win is to make sure the they haven’t already dug themselves a hole by the end of the first quarter.
The end result of the game will ultimately depend on whether Carson Palmer’s hamstring affects his game. Given that Bruce Arians isn’t worried about how Palmer will play and the Cardinals are at home, Arizona should be able to get within half a game of the division lead.