This past Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals entered Lincoln Financial Field intent on beating a football team that, while no longer a division rival, had plenty of reasons to get the best of. One such reason stemmed from the bad blood between their head coach and the Philadelphia Eagles, but they probably also wanted to prove they were better than what they showed in Week 16.
While this week’s season finale vs. the Seattle Seahawks looks meaningless on paper, it’s worth noting that there is one thing the Cardinals have yet to do this season: Beat a current division rival. Arizona may have played their former rivals well, finishing the year 2-2 against them and losing two of those games by a combined seven points, but it’s been a different story against the NFC West.
Over their five games vs. their own division, the Cards have been outscored by 85 points, losing each contest by an average of 17 points per game. “Big Red” has lost eight games this season by at least two possessions, and five of those losses came against their division. But if they practice some continuity from last week, they should at least give the Seahawks a game.
3 things the Arizona Cardinals must take into the season finale
1 - Run the ball early and often
The Cardinals rushed for 221 yards, a touchdown, and 5.5 yards per carry on 40 attempts against the Eagles this past Sunday. By contrast, quarterback Kyler Murray dropped back and threw 31 times, and was sacked once, giving us 32 total dropbacks, and a run-to-pass ratio of 55.5 to 45.5 percent.
This week, the Redbirds must continue that strategy as they are facing a far weaker rushing defense. Through 16 games this season, the Seahawks have allowed the third-highest number of yards on the ground at 2,146, plus the third-highest number of rushing touchdowns at 23. Their average of 4.5 yards per carry allowed is tied for the sixth-highest.