Week 14: Arizona Cardinals At Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackThe Cardinals have not gotten any kind of consistent performance at the quarterback position and that’s a big part of the reason they have lost eight straight games. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are immobile and Ryan Lindley lacks accuracy and dependability. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has no real alternative at the quarterback position.Russell Wilson continues to string together outstanding performances for the Seahawks. In addition to his strong statistical showing against Chicago – 23-of-37 for 293 yards with 2 TDs and 0 interceptions – he came through at the end of the fourth quarter and overtime to help secure the huge road win in Week 13. Wilson is a special talent and he has the Seahawks in a solid position to make the playoffs.
- OffenseThe talent level at the skill position may be adequate, but the Cardinals can’t let those players perform because the offensive line has been disastrous. The Cardinals have not been able to put a credible ground game on the field at any point this year. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in the league, but Cardinal quarterbacks have been unable to get him the ball because they just don’t have time.Marshawn Lynch has the power and will to carry the Seahawks’ offense when he gets the call from the coaching staff. Lynch is up to the job and he takes significant pressure off of Wilson. Golden Tate (7 TD catches) is not a fancy receiver. When he catches the ball in the open field, he looks to run over tacklers and not run away from them. Sidney Rice is a legitimate big-play threat who can run past or jump over defenders to make the play.
- DefenseThe Cardinals can play tough defense and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They rank third in fewest passing yards allowed this season. Linebacker Daryl Washington continues to play with effort even though many of his teammates appear to have packed it in. He has a team-high 104 tackles and 9.0 sacks.The Seahawks have gotten a lift from Wilson at quarterback, but the defense has been a big part of this team’s success. The defense ranks fourth overall in yards allowed. Linebacker Bobby Wagner goes all over the field to make plays and had a team-high 101 tackles and 3.0 sacks. Cornerback Brandon Browner is a big hitter with 44 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
- Special TeamsThe Cardinals have not stood out on special teams coverage this year. Despite the presence of explosive Patrick Peterson as a returner, opponents have gotten the best of the Cardinals in both punt returns and kickoff returns this season. Jay Feely has a big leg and has made 20-of-23 FG attempts.The Seahawks are outgaining opponents on kick returns by a whopping 7.4 yards per attempt. Leon Washington is one of the most professional return specialists in the league. He will exploit any mistake opponents make with their coverage teams. Steven Hauschka has made 16-of-19 FG attempts, but he is 1-of-4 on attempts of 50 yards or more.
The Ravens have an opportunity to bury the Steelers at home in this game. If Roethlisberger cannot play, the Steelers would appear to be in big trouble because their backup quarterbacks have not been able to provide any relief. However, if Roethlisberger is healthy, this could be a game decided in the final minute.