The Seahawks host the Cardinals on Sunday looking to bounce back from a tough loss in Kansas City, while Arizona (1-5) is trying to get on track after a 1-5 start. Seahawks fans shouldn't be fooled by that record, however, as the Cardinals have been competitive throughout the season, losing three of those games by single digit margins, and earning their lone win over the Cowboys, who are 4-2 and considered one of the NFC's top teams.
To get you ready for this week's game, Seahawks.com reached out to AZCardinals.com senior writer Darren Urban with five questions about Seattle's Week 7 opponent:
The record isn't what anyone there was hoping for, but the Cardinals have looked competitive even in losses, and have an impressive win over Dallas. What have Jonathan Gannon and a new coaching staff brought to the organization so far?
Urban: There is little doubt there has been more accountability brought to the team this season, and those players who were not on board or have not gotten on board have been moved on from without much hesitation. Even with the losses so far, there has been a buy-in on what these coaches are saying and doing. Gannon demands such. It doesn't hurt that many players are working to keep a job in the NFL and benefit from the buy-in, but – at least some of the time – the Cardinals have played collectively above what their roster might look like piece by piece. The outcomes have slid the last couple of weeks; what is interesting now is when Kyler Murray returns and what that looks like on the field.
That being said, being competitive in losses no doubt can get old. Per the postgame quotes, some players expressed frustration after Sunday's loss to the Rams, what do the Cardinals need to do to get over the hump in these close games?
Urban: It's basic football, really. Offensively they need to take better care of the ball. They had been doing that before the last two games – all three of Joshua Dobbs' interceptions have come in the losses to the Bengals and Rams, and he also lost two fumbles. They are dealing with the loss of running back James Conner, but they were OK running the football last week. Dobbs also can't miss opportunities – he twice should've had Hollywood Brown for long touchdowns in L.A. but underthrew one pass and the other sailed too far out of bounds. Defensively, the Cardinals have personnel issues. Slowing a passing attack that has Metcalf and Lockett will be a challenge.
How has quarterback Josh Dobbs looked filling in for an injured Kyler Murray?
Urban: Murray officially returned to practice this week, but he is far from jumping back on the field. Dobbs had a tough Week 1 – understandable given that at that point he had only been around two weeks – but then played three excellent games. He has regressed the past two games, and combined has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in that time. Dobbs is a smart guy and a good leader. His running ability is low-key excellent. But he has to be more consistent in his accuracy and decision-making when throwing the ball.
Outside of the obvious big names, what player(s) could be an X-factor for the Cardinals this week?
Urban: I am going to say rookie cornerback Kei'Trel Clark, for good or for bad. The sixth-rounder got off to a solid start and won a starting job, but his playing time is dwindling as he's starting to get picked on. He most likely is going to have to play this week given injuries in the secondary. He will need to up his play. The Cardinals don't have a consistent pass rush, however, and it makes all parts of pass defense tricky.
What matchup or matchups are you most looking forward to seeing play out on Sunday?
Urban: I am keeping my fingers crossed that Seattle native Budda Baker is activated off IR – I am guessing he won't want to miss this game – and is back on the field. So whatever Baker might be doing, whether it is a blitz on Geno Smith, covering a tight end, trying to take down Kenneth Walker III as he hits the hole, the chance to see Baker for the first time since the opener in intriguing. He's their best player on defense and perhaps the team. But he's got to be activated.
The Seahawks and Cardinals face off on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Cardinals.