Seahawks have bigger worries than revenge over Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. -- In the big picture, the Cardinals' 17-10 win over the Seahawks on Dec. 22 in Seattle didn't mean much to the Seahawks. Seattle won the Super Bowl. Arizona didn't make the playoffs.
Through that lens, Sunday's rematch -- the first time these teams have seen each other since Arizona ended Seattle's 14-game home winning streak -- shouldn't have any residual effects. But that's not the only lens in use here.
Several Arizona players and coach Bruce Arians have repeatedly pointed to that game as the one that set the Cardinals on the track that has them sitting at 9-1 this season, three games ahead of the rest of the NFC.
"The belief system that everything we're doing is working solidified itself up there last year," Arians said.
Inspired defensive play helped Arizona overcome four turnovers to win on wide receiver Michael Floyd's diving, 31-yard touchdown reception with 2:13 remaining and Karlos Dansby's late interception. The Cardinals defense also held Seattle to 20 rushing yards.
"I'd hope we would have believed earlier in the season," center Lyle Sendlein added. "But I think that was a game that showed that the hard work of the players and the hard work of the staff kind of culminated in a win we haven't been able to get in a long time up there."
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll insisted the Seahawks aren't thinking about last season's game.
"We're not looking back to last year, we're not looking forward or ahead to the rest of the six games we have," Wilson said. "We're looking forward to this one right here, right now."
"I've never ever talked liked that -- never looked at games like that at all,' Carroll added. "That's not the way we talk about the guys that we play or the opponents coming up. It has nothing to do with the last time around."
But revenge won't be the only thing on the Seahawks' minds. It can't be. Seattle is 6-4 and in a battle for its playoff life. The Seahawks' remaining opponents have the highest winning percentage (.667) of any NFL team, giving them the toughest remaining schedule.
"I'm pretty sure that (win is) in their head; that we came up there and broke their streak," Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson said. "But at the end of the day, I think the biggest things they're thinking about is that they're 6-4 and if they drop another game it's a possibility that they may not make the playoffs with the schedule they have left."
For the Cardinals, there is little left to prove in this regular season. They already own wins over NFC elites Detroit (7-3), Philadelphia (7-3), Dallas (7-3) and San Francisco (6-4), in addition to a win over San Diego (6-4). Still, Arizona knows that a win in Seattle would all but sew up the NFC West title and push them a long way toward earning the No. 1 seed in the conference.
"It's still very hard to go into that atmosphere and win," Johnson said of notoriously loud CenturyLink Field. "Those guys have a lot on the line as far as playoff implications and we have a lot as well so we know we're going to get their best shot, and we're going to give them our best shot."
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