This week’s Thursday night game is an NFC West divisional battle as the Seahawks go on the road to face the Cardinals. Both teams have their fair share of young talent so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds. For the Seahawks, this may be the week to let Russell Wilson loose in terms of the passing game. The Cardinals have a stingy front seven to stop the run but when it comes to the secondary, there are questions. Patrick Peterson is a phenomenal athlete who has all the traits one would look for in a shutdown corner along with rookie Tyrann Mathieu who is living up to his ball-hawking college reputation. Aside from those two, there is not a whole lot of depth and the Seahawks have the personnel to exploit that. Don’t be surprised to see Wilson get the ball to players like Doug Baldwin or Golden Tate and let them create opportunities on the opposite side of Peterson or in the slot. Regardless of what Wilson does through the air, Marshawn Lynch should still be a lock for his 20 or so touches. Lynch is one of the few remaining “workhorse” backs left in the league and has maintained that claim so far this year. He continues to run extremely angry and even in a tough matchup should be in for a nice game.
The Cardinals and their offense centered around the vertical passing game could be in big trouble this week. Carson Palmer has been inconsistent through six weeks and a rough matchup against arguably the best secondary in the league won’t help. For that reason, it wouldn’t be surprising if Palmer continues to get rookie running back Andre Ellington involved in the passing game through screens or check downs. One matchup that will be worth watching is Larry Fitzgerald going up against Richard Sherman. Both players are amongst the best in the league at their respective craft but this could be rougher treading than usual for Fitzgerald. He’s playing with a nagging hamstring injury and on four days rest he obviously won’t be at full strength. Considering the Cardinals offensive line is far from established, it wouldn’t be surprising if the aggressive Seahawks get plenty of pressure on Palmer either resulting in sacks or turnovers.
Overall, this should be an interesting game between two teams the typical fan may not have the chance of seeing that often. When it’s all said and done though, this game could become one sided as the Seahawks defense could be just too much to overcome for a Cardinals offense that at times has difficulty scoring points. My prediction is Seahawks 24 Cardinals (+6.5) 16