1. Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks, December 22
Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (54), cornerback Richard Sherman (25) and safety Kam Chancellor (31) react in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
This is the second-to-last game for the Arizona Cardinals of the 2013 regular season. The Seattle Seahawks will probably be competing with San Francisco for the division title at this point so you can expect them to have their foot on the gas pedal.
Century Link Field is one of the loudest outdoor stadiums in the entire world, as the “12th man” makes life impossible for opposing offenses and signal callers. The Cardinals offense overall will have to play with great discipline as false starts and illegal alignments can certainly be drive killers and allow this game to get out of hand.
The Seahawks have one of the best secondaries in the entire NFL and match up very well against the Cardinals receivers and tight ends. At this point I expect the Cardinals to have a respectable running game, and they have no choice but to try and take advantage of the undersized defensive ends that the Seahawks employ in their sub packages. If the Cardinals can run the ball with success and protect Carson Palmer from the talented Seahawks’ pass-rushers they might have a chance to make plays down the field.
On offense the Seahawks have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, as Marshawn Lynch is almost impossible to bring down after first contact. Dan Williams is the key for the Cardinals defense as he goes against one of the best offensive centers in the NFL in Max Unger. The Cardinals must hold up against the run and be able to defend Percy Harvin in the slot or the backfield. The Cardinals’ special teams must also play well in this game as they try to prevent a huge return from Harvin.
If the Cardinals are going to have any chance of upsetting the Seahawks they must run the ball with great success and stop the run with great success. However, a great punt return or two from Patrick Peterson could go a long way.