With one of the best running games in the league, the Arizona Cardinals could find themselves running all over the Seattle Seahawks in their season finale this Sunday. It is by far the most favorable matchup vs. their NFC West rival, and by establishing the run early, they will give themselves the best overall chance to walk away from the 2023 season with a better record than most thought they would earn.
But upon closer inspection, this isn’t the only matchup that the Redbirds can take advantage of in the final game of the season. They are facing a substantially weaker Seattle team than what they saw in Week 7, when the Seahawks, who improved to 4-2 that day, enjoyed an outstanding game on the ground against a meager Arizona rushing defense.
Seattle’s running game has since regressed, and thanks to how well the Cardinals played last week against the Philadelphia Eagles ground attack, they could enjoy a repeat performance. The Cards red zone offense is also one of the league’s better units, and they can take advantage of the Seahawks inside the 20. And finally, quarterback Kyler Murray can also enjoy an efficient day throwing the ball, especially in the short-to-intermediate passing game.
3 matchups the Arizona Cardinals can take advantage of in Week 18
1 - Cardinals rushing defense should stifle Seahawks rushing offense
There was no way I would have made such a claim when these two teams met the first time around. We know how poorly the Cardinals rushing defense has been throughout most of 2023 sans a few outliers, but the Seahawks also gained 100 or more yards on the ground four times in their first nine games.
Since then, it’s only happened twice, with the most recent occurring in Week 15 when they gained 100 even. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are coming off one of their best games of the season in stopping the run, allowing a season-low of just 91 rushing yards.
While Arizona’s defense has been depleted at this time of the year, they already showed us once that even the best teams can’t always run over them. And in facing what has become a mediocre rushing attack throughout the season, the Cards can show the league they will be consistent even with an undermanned unit.