The Seahawks (5-0) head to Arizona this weekend to take on the 4-2 Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, Seattle's first NFC West contest of the season. To learn more about this week's opponent, Seahawks.com reached out to AZCardinals.com writer Kyle Odegard with five questions about the Cardinals:
There was a lot of Kyler Murray hype heading into his second season, how would you say Year 2 is going for him through six games?
Odegard: He would be the first to tell you that it's been inconsistent, but even with that, he is No. 10 in ESPN's Total QBR metric, which gives you an idea of his immense ceiling. Murray has hit another gear rushing the ball, as he is making decisive decisions and pushing for more yardage before eventually sliding to avoid a big hit. The passing aspect has been average, but the arm talent is there, so progress on that front would truly make him an elite quarterback.
Losing Chandler Jones is obviously a massive blow, who needs to step up on Arizona's defense, and in the pass rush in particular, to help make up for that loss?
Odegard: Haason Reddick is a former first-round pick who never lived up to expectations at inside linebacker, but has been a pleasant surprise after moving back to the edge this offseason. He leads the team with four sacks and had two on Monday against the Cowboys, as the worries about his size have not yet been an issue. Chandler Jones has been elite for a long time, so it's a big loss, and it remains to be seen if Reddick can bring game-in, game-out pressure like Jones.
Q: DeAndre Hopkins was one of the biggest additions made by any team in the division this year, what has he brought to the offense so far this season?
Odegard: The Cardinals were lacking a true star at receiver last season, and Hopkins has more than filled that bill. He has done a little bit of everything for the offense, making plays on bubble screens, intermediate routes and deep shots. He is a security blanket for Murray, the type of player who will more often than not make the crucial play on third down to keep a drive alive.
Q: Budda Baker and Byron Murphy are well known to football fans from these parts, what have those two former Huskies meant to Arizona's defense, and how important will they be in a matchup against one of the NFL's most explosive passing games?
Odegard: Baker has been phenomenal, and it's probably no surprise that the Cardinals' worst defensive game of the season – against the Panthers in Week 4 – came with him sidelined due to a thumb injury. Baker is easily the best defensive player on the team and will be needed in both his center field and blitzing roles against Seattle. Murphy has played much better this season. He's not quite a finished product but it's evident why the Cardinals took him with the first pick of the second round in 2019. However, this is a huge test for him, especially when he matches up with Tyler Lockett. The Cardinals' pass defense has been pretty good this season, but it has not faced an aerial attack like the one Seattle will bring to town.
Q: What are a couple of the matchups you're most looking forward to seeing on Sunday?
Odegard: The Seahawks are one of the few teams in the NFL with a linebacker agile enough to hang with Murray, so I'm interested to see how Bobby Wagner will be deployed defensively. The Cowboys tried to spy Murray on occasion but he was still quick enough to get away. On the flip-side, what do the Cardinals do against D.K. Metcalf? He only had one catch for six yards in the two meetings last season, but is now one of the better wideouts in the NFL. If Patrick Peterson shadows him again, that will be a must-see showdown.