The Seahawks are back home this week to play in front of the 12s at Lumen Field, and while a home game is always welcome news, this week brings a game against an Arizona Cardinals team that has been significantly better on the road than at home in recent years. For more on that odd trend and more, Seahawks.com reached out to azcardinals.com senior writer Darren Urban with five questions about this week's opponent.
The Cardinals are 2-3 following a Week 5 loss to the Eagles. What is working early this season for the Cardinals, and what needs to get better for them to start winning more games?
Urban: What's working? Not as much as they would like, that's for sure. The defense, considering who left from last year and who remained, has been surprisingly strong. They started rough against the Chiefs, but many teams struggle to stop the Chiefs. For the most part, though, they have not only done a solid job, they have managed to slow some big-time playmakers: Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Christian McCaffery, A.J. Brown. The way the Cards have played defense, it should be enough to win more, frankly, if the offense held up its end. But the Cardinals have yet to score in the first quarter this season and the offense overall has been inconsistent at best. It has moments, but even with the suspension of DeAndre Hopkins, it should be more potent than it has been. Kyler Murray is off to a slower start then they hoped too.
How big of a factor has DeAndre Hopkins' absence been for the offense, and who is stepping up in the passing game during his suspension?
Urban: I mean, you take away arguably a top 5 NFL wideout and it's going to leave a mark. Had he been around there is little question the offense would've been better off, but it wouldn't solve everything. The Cardinals have gotten a great start from Marquise Brown, who has a nice chemistry with Kyler after they played together in college. Brown will be even better with Hopkins in the lineup. Tight end Zach Ertz has also been a steady target.
Obviously, the Cardinals, who are 0-3 at and 2-0 on the road this season, would like to be winning more home games, but they've now won 10 of their last 11 on the road dating back to last season. Is there any reason for that road success, and what kind of confidence does the team now have when it hits the road?
Urban: I can't begin to understand why this team can't win at home and can't lose on the road, although I suppose for this week they will take it. Some of it has been luck: The best teams they have played in their first five games were at home: Chiefs, Rams, Eagles. The road teams have been the Raiders and Panthers. But there is little question they have confidence on the road. They obviously have also gained confidence playing in Seattle too. Another plus of this week: Not playing at home means not answering those questions again.
Other than the obvious big names, what player or players could be an x-factor in Sunday's game?
Urban: Defensive lineman Zach Allen has finally emerged in Year 4 in making a major impact up front (although J.J. Watt continues to be solid too.) And safety Jalen Thompson has been trending up in the secondary. On offense, I'll be curious to see the continuing evolution of wideout Rondale Moore, and running back Eno Benjamin has played well and might need to play more with injuries in the backfield.
What matchup(s) are you looking forward to seeing play out this weekend?
Urban: Not sure which wideout he will cover, but Washington product Byron Murphy figures to cover either Metcalf or Lockett, and Murphy has been playing well. I also want to see if the Cardinals can find a pass rush to harass Geno Smith, who has to be a revelation up there for the Seattle fanbase. And as much as the Seattle defense can struggle, is this the week Kyler can get untracked?
The Seahawks face the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium for Week 9 of the 2022 season. Take a look back at photos from previous games between the two teams.