Week 10’s opening game is a Thursday night matchup between NFC West foes – the Seattle Seahawks versus the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams are chasing after the division leading Los Angeles Rams and see this game as a must win. Will Seattle rebound on the road this week or has Arizona steadied their team and ready for a run at the division crown? Kickoff inside University of Phoenix Stadium is at 8:25 PM ET.
These two teams have played each other tough over their last 10 games. Seattle has the slight edge during that span with a record of 5-4-1. That’s right, who can forget their 6-6 tie from last year when they played in Arizona?
Seattle (5-3) is coming off a miserable loss against Washington. After an exciting victory over Houston two weeks ago, Seattle had a chance to keep pace with the Rams last weekend and maintain control over the division. Instead, they forgot how to play offense and lost the game 17-14 at home. It’s been the story for Seattle all season long. They’ve played too inconsistent on offense and it’s cost them games. With an important NFC West showdown, Seattle needs to find its identity to be a player in the division and the conference.
Arizona (4-4) is coming off a 20-10 divisional win over the hapless 49ers. Although it wasn’t against a great team, the win helped the Cardinals turn their fortunes around after losing their starting quarterback Carson Palmer two games ago. The Cardinals are looking for some consistency on offense and hope that a balanced attack will earn them more wins.
The spread opened with Arizona getting 5 points. Currently, it’s listed as Arizona +5.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 42.5 points and has gone down to 41.5 total points.
Seattle has flirted with a few losses over their 4 game winning streak. They defeated the Rams 16-10, but were a touchdown drop away from losing that game. Against Houston, they could’ve easily fallen short of their comeback attempt. Last weekend, their inconsistent offense cost them the game and they’re now moving toward Wild Card status and not a divisional frontrunner.
Despite all of that, I believe that Seattle can go down to Arizona and win this game due to one key advantage – Russell Wilson. The Seahawks quarterback is a better player than backup Cardinals QB Drew Stanton or anyone else they throw out there. Both defenses will play well, both running games will chug along, but it’s the quarterback play that will be the difference.
In defeat, Wilson threw for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns against Washington. He also ran for 77 yards on 10 carries. Unfortunately, his 2 interceptions were costly. Drew Stanton threw for 201 yards and 2 TDs, but he also turned the ball over 1 time. The Cardinals relied on running back Adrian Peterson to rush the ball 37 times for 159 yards.
This week, Seattle will contain AP and force Stanton to beat them. They will bring the pressure and harass Stanton all game. Arizona will also try to pressure and contain Wilson in the pocket as the Seahawks running game is one of the worst in the league, other than Russell’s scrambling.
I believe Wilson will be able to make more plays than Stanton and that’s the difference in this game. The Cardinals allow 263 passing yards per game and Wilson is averaging about 288 yards per game. Also, despite those 2 picks last week, Wilson only has 6 INTs on the season with 17 touchdown throws. Just to point out how bad Seattle’s run game is, Wilson leads the team in rushing with 271 yards and a touchdown. This also reflects just how special of a player Russell is and how the Cardinals need to do everything they can to stop him.
Seattle is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games versus Arizona and 4-1 ATS when playing on the road in Arizona. The Cardinals are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as the underdog, 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games against winning teams, and 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games.
I expect Wilson to lead the Seahawks to a 20-13 victory by scoring a late game touchdown and just covering the spread.