The NFC West is a tight race and is arguably the best division in the league. Currently, there’s a three way tie for first place (Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks). Each win within the division is critical and it should be something to watch the rest of the season. The Cardinals are currently 2-0 against division opponents and the Seahawks are currently 1-2 within the division. The Cardinals have the edge in the division, on the other hand Seahawks have dropped two games, one to the Rams and the other to the Cardinals. You can expect that each game within the division is going to be a close one and will come down to the wire. It should be fun to watch.
Tonight the Seahawks will host the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. Under normal circumstances, Seahawks fans would fill up Lumen Field. The 12s would play a significant role in this game. Given the current pandemic situation, the Seahawks will have to play tonight without the 12s and will need to figure out a way to replace the energy the 12s provide on game day. I am sure the Cardinals won’t miss the 12s tonight.
Some things we can expect in this game is it will be like a heavyweight fight. Should be a physical game and may come down to the last possession. But there are some questions for both teams going in to this game. We will dig further into those questions and some keys to the game.
Seahawks – Questions and Keys to the Game
- Russell Wilson – Will he continue with his trend of turning the ball over? In recent weeks, Russell Wilson has thrown some ugly interceptions and has had trouble protecting the ball on the ground, as well. If the Seahawks want any chance at winning this game, Russell Wilson will need to protect the ball. If the play is simply not there, he will need to throw the ball away (especially on early downs). Can he return to his early season MVP form?
- Seahawks Defense – Can the defense continue to improve and limit the Cardinals offense to under 30 points? The last game against the Cardinals, the Seahawks defense gave up 500+ yards (360 passing yards & 159 rushing yards) and the Cardinals scored 37 points. Those aren’t good numbers and that is the reason why they lost. The defense did create two turnovers in that game, but it simply was not enough. The defense should be much improved up front. The backend though is a much different story. The defense will be without both starting Corners, and will now be tasked to cover DeAndre Hopkins. The Seahawks defense will need to hold their ground against the Cardinals offense and at the very least hold them to under 30 points. Is that too much to ask for?
- Seahawks Running Game – It is quite clear that the Seahawks are asking Russell Wilson to do too much and he has been pressing. As of late, I think we have been seeing Wilson wear down, especially with the MVP pressure. The Seahawks will need to get back to the basics. They simply need to be more committed to run the ball. If they are successful on the ground, then that should open up opportunities for Russell Wilson to pass the ball. That also chews up the clock and limits plays for the Cardinals offense, which in turn helps the struggling Seahawks defense.
Cardinals – Questions and Keys to the game
- Cardinals Defensive Line – The Cardinals defense lost Nose Tackle Corey Peters for the rest of the season. Peters suffered a torn patellar tendon in last week’s game against the Bills. The defensive line will have to figure out a way to replace Peters. Can the Cardinals defensive line put pressure on Russell Wilson? We have seen what happens when you are successful at pressuring Wilson. If the Cardinals cannot generate pressure against Wilson, then it will be a long night and the Seahawks offense will pick apart the Cardinals defense. To beat the Seahawks, you have to simply limit their opportunities by making Russell Wilson make mistakes. Also, the defensive line may see the Seahawks try to run the ball down their throats, so that will be something to watch and see if they are prepared for. We will see if the Cardinals defensive line is up for the challenge.
- Kyler Murray – He will be playing against a Seahawks defense that will be without their starting Corners. Kyler will need to expose the backend and he could do that by throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins early and often. Seahawks are decent against the run, but are horrible against the pass. The opportunities will be their for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, but can they execute? They will need to score at least 30 points to beat Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
- Zane Gonzalez – He needs to be perfect in field goal attempts in this one. The last game against the Seahawks, Gonzalez missed a critical field goal that could have sealed the game. This season Zane Gonzalez has made 15 Field Goals out of 19 Field Goal Attempts. That is a 78.95 Field Goal Percentage. You can look at those numbers, and think to yourself that he has only missed 4 field goals this season and all of those misses are from 40+ yards out. That is true, but every point is critical and it will matter in this game. You cannot miss any opportunities to score points, and give the ball back to Russell Wilson.
This game should be a really good one with lots of exciting plays. We will see who comes out on top.