It’s an indictment on the NFC West that both of these outfits are still alive. The NFC West is the only division that doesn’t have a team with a winning record, making the race wide open. Seattle (4-4), which has lost its last two, is tied with St. Louis at the top and is a game ahead of Arizona (3-5). The two-time reigning division champion Cardinals are a game in front of last-place San Francisco, which hosts the Rams on Sunday. Injuries have ravaged the Seahawks, which has a lot to do with their slide. Interestingly enough, both teams were fighting to land QB Charlie Whitehurst in the off-season, I believe the Cardinals are laughing now. Both teams have gone through their share of QB’s this season and Seattle is hopeful that Matt Hasselbeck can get back for this one. The (4-4) NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks will look to remain in this position after their clash Sunday with the (3-5) Arizona Cardinals, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST.
The Seahawks share first place despite being outscored 74-10 the last two games, including a 41-7 home loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. A week after giving up 545 yards of offense to Oakland, Seattle was out gained 487-162 by the Giants. Since defeating Arizona at home, Seattle has not improved their situation. The Seahawks were manhandled in a 33-3 loss to the Oakland Raiders, during which Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck suffered a concussion. The injury knocked him out of the Week 9 contest at home against the New York Giants. It’s just as well. Seattle, playing the gracious host, was far too gracious and took a 41-7 pounding in the process. The Seahawks, therefore, failed to capitalize on grabbing an unshared lead of the NFC West. Their two-game losing streak has forced a two-way tie with the St. Louis Rams for control of the division. The defense has particularly struggled against the run the last three weeks after that had been the team’s strength. The Seahawks held opponents to an average 70.4 yards rushing through five games, but they’ve yielded 183.0 per game over the last three. Injuries have played a big part, with defensive linemen Colin Cole (high ankle sprain), Red Bryant (knee) and Brandon Malone (calf) missing time. Mebane, who has missed the last four games, should return this week. Carroll expects Hasselbeck to return after he missed last week with a concussion. Starting in his place, Charlie Whitehurst went 12 of 23 for 113 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Arizona hosts Seattle in this key divisional battle with the 3-5 record on the season. They put up 19 points and 254 yards per game. The Cardinals are playing just their fourth home game of the season and are 2-1 on the season. They own victories against New Orleans and Oakland and dropped a 38-35 decision to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks back as a 3 point home favorite. Arizona is coming off a gut wrenching 27-24 defeat to the Minnesota Vikings last week in overtime as 7 point road underdogs. The Cardinals coughed up a 14 point lead in the games final four minutes which forced overtime. The team put up only 225 yards on the Vikings defense and converted on 3 of 13 tries on third down. They struggled on the ground with just 53 rushing yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Derek Anderson completed 15 of 26 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown and no picks whileTim Hightower on 13 rushes had just 39 yards. Larry Fitzgerald led the club with 7 catches for 107 yards. Steve Breaston contributed with 3 catches for 28 yards. The Cardinals defense was torched last week for 507 yards by the Vikings. They were exploited by the Minnesota quarterback for 36 of 47 passing for 427 passing yards. If the Cardinals have any hope of turning their season around, they have to play well at home, which starts this week. Consider that 5 of Arizona’s final 8 games are at home. In addition, four of those home games are in the next five weeks. A Week 11 road game in Kansas City breaks up the party, but the Chiefs will be followed by home games against San Francisco, St. Louis, and Denver (2-5), respectively, all of which are very winnable. Don’t look now, but Derek Anderson has finally shown some consistency. In fact, since he relieved Hall just before the half in Week 8, Anderson has completed 31 of 50 passes for 413 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs for a 84.3 passer rating. That’s not half bad. The 62% completion rating is particularly attractive, which has been a bane for Anderson throughout his career. In addition, one of the two interceptions recorded in that span was a ball that was jarred loose from LaRod Stephen-Howlings’s grasp by Geno Hayes and scooped of the turf by Barrett Ruud in Week 8; a tough break for Anderson.
Seahawks vs Cardinals Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Seattle Seahawks +3
@ Arizona Cardinals -3
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Panthers vs Buccaneers Prediction for Week 10:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – I like this game reaching the OVER without Matt Hasselbeck in the Seahawks starting lineup but I like it even more with him in it. Matt should be able to go this Sunday, which is extremely good news for this Hawks bunch who were exposed at that position last week against the Giants. While the Cardinals and Seahawks rank 30th and 31st, respectively, in total offense, Seattle totaled 302 yards in a 22-10 home win over Arizona on Oct. 24. Anderson did not start that game, but came in after Hall was injured and went 8 of 17 for 96 yards. The total has gone OVER in 9 of Seattle’s last 13 games when playing Arizona and the total has gone OVER in 5 of Seattle’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Arizona. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Arizona’s last 7 games and QB Derek Anderson has seem to have found his game once again. I believe this game has all the makings for a high scoring affair, as both teams are still very much in the hunt for the NFC West crown. I recommend taking a strong look at the OVER in Arizona come Sunday.
Top Play Prediction = OVER 41.5 Total Points
Spread Prediction – The Seattle Seahawks have played very inconsistent ball this year and they have been a hard team to read and forecast. They have had a few games this year where they have looked brilliant, but there are those other ones, namely last week against the G-Men, that they look like they should be playing North of the border. The Seahawks are a very solid football team when QB Matt Hasselbeck is taking the snaps and with his prognosis becoming increasingly better each day of this week I like the chances of the Seahawks even more. The Cardinals are in need of a quarterback and a running game, both of which will not be solved by this Sunday. After beating the defending Super Bowl champs, the Cardinals have a 3 game hangover that they cannot shake. Arizona is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games and 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games. The Cards are poised for a letdown performance after allowing the Vikings to come back last week and sting them in overtime. The Seahawks already have a win this season on the Cards and I see them bouncing back after a pathetic game against New York this Sunday. We will consider the Seahawks covering this spread and even possibly squeaking out a must needed win in Arizona. Cheers
Prediction = Seahawks + 3