You are here
Five matchups to watch: Seahawks vs. Cardinals
A look at the Seahawks’ Week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, including five matchups that could impact the outcome:
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 12-2 and first in the NFC West after last week’s 23-0 victory over the New York Giants; Cardinals 9-5 and third in the NFC West after last week’s 37-24 overtime victory against the Titans in Tennessee
Playoff implications: The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West title, a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win; the Cardinals are currently the No. 7 seed and need a win to remain in the playoff picture as they try to overtake the 49ers, Saints or Panthers (all 10-4) for a wild-card spot
TV: FOX (Q/13), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jennifer Hale
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 KIRO FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: Falcons at 49ers on Monday night; Buccaneers at Rams (6-8)
One to watch
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer vs. the Seahawks’ pass rush: In Week 7, eight Seahawks combined to sack Palmer seven times. Sunday, he’ll be playing on an ankle he sprained in last week’s game. So the Seahawks’ pass rush needs to be even more relentless. That will start with stopping the Cardinals’ improved running game that now features rookie Andre Ellington (5.9-yard average on 94 carries) as well as Rashard Mendenhall (eight rushing touchdowns), and getting Palmer into third-and-long situations where the Seahawks can turn things over to the nickel line of ends Cliff Avril (8.5 sacks) and Chris Clemons (4.5) and tackles Michael Bennett (7.5) and Clinton McDonald (4.5).
Fun to watch
One tough task
Seahawks RG Michael Bowie vs. Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett: If Bowie does get the start for a concussed J.R. Sweezy, the rookie will have his hands full – literally – with Dockett, who has been disrupting the Seahawks’ offense since Bowie was in elementary school. The Cardinals used inside pressure in getting to QB Russell Wilson for a pair of fumble-forcing sacks in the Seahawks’ Week 7 win in the desert. Bowie started at right tackle for an injured Breno Giacomini in that game, but he’s been inactive the past four games.
The Cardinals lead the series 15-14, but the Seahawks have a two-game winning streak. … In addition to winning the NFC West, a victory by the Seahawks also would tie the 2005 Super Bowl team for most victories in a season (13). … The Seahawks (2004-07 and 2010) and Cardinals (2008 and 2009) combined to win the NFC West for seven consecutive seasons before the 49ers won it the past two. … Each team has scored its most points in the second quarter; 131 for the Seahawks and 112 for the Cardinals. … The Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense, which also has allowed the fewest points in the league, has yielded 105 points in the second quarter – compared to 22 in the first, 35 in the third and 43 in the fourth. … Sherman’s six interceptions share the league lead and the Seahawks lead the NFL with 22. … MLB Bobby Wagner (99) and FS Earl Thomas (89) lead the Seahawks in tackles. … ILB Karlos Dansby lead the Cardinals with 127 tackles, while DE John Abraham has a team-high 11.5 sacks.