The Arizona Cardinals march into The Great Northwest this afternoon and take on the once mighty Seattle Seahawks at Seahawks Stadium. This matchup used to be one-sided – for the Seahawks. Many experts think it will now be one sided again – in favor of the Cardinals.
I’ve detailed my thoughts throught the past 6 days on how I think this game will go down. My heart is so ready to see the Cardinals stick it to the Seahawks. Sure they did beat them once last season, but that was in the friendly confines of University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals have been embarrassed the past couple of trips to Seattle, including last season’s 42-21 loss in which Kurt Warner threw for 5 interceptions.
Today’s match up does appear more favorable for the Cardinals. Looking at each team’s offense, Arizona’s has flourished, especially in the passing game, with Kurt Warner at the help, throwing 19 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions so far. The running game is still trying to find an identity and will need to find more balance as playoff time gets closer. However, the offense is in a much better state than that of the Seahawks. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has missed much of the season with a bad back. He is listed as today’s starter though, finally feeling well enough to start a game. Also returning for the Seahawks is receiver Deion Branch, who also has missed most of the season to date.
The Cardinals defense is going to have to find a way to get to Hasselbeck early and often and make him a non-issue. A couple of big plays in favor of the Seahawks could develop into a snowball and send the Cardinals reeling. Karlos Dansby is going to need to avoid late game mental mistakes such as the personal foul he committed on San Francisco’s final drive on Monday night. Cornerbacks Rod Hood and Eric Green both found themselves limited in practice this week and are questionable, but have not been ruled out. The secondary has been bitten by several big plays this season and anything to further deplete the secondary could leave Hasselbeck salivating and finding a way to turn their season around starting today.
The Seahawks will have a huge crowd behind them, but the Cardinals must not let that get to them. Deuce Lutui, a.k.a “the Drive Killer”, will need to keep his focus and avoid the false starts. Green Bay, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have all gone to Seattle this season and come away with victory. If the Cardinals want to be considered among the league’s elite, they need to find a way to erase the road demons, especially in a place that has been amongst the cruelest to them.
Cardinals 31-30. We can only hope it’s not that close, but I’ll take a win anyway we can get it.