Week 11 Thursday Night Football Preview:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Disclaimer time, right off the bat! I am a Seahawks fan. I am a bandwagon fan, but I jumped on that bandwagon back in 2004 when they went to the Super Bowl vs the Steelers and the refs. It’s been 16 long years with this franchise. They have had their ups and downs between having to start Charlie Whitehurst at QB and then falling into Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom. Some of it was luck, some of it was Pete Carroll and John Schneider making great offseason moves, and the rest was unknown players exceeding expectations. The underdog mentality pushed the Seahawks all the way to a Super Bowl title. Now, as a team that is expected to win double digit games and make a deep playoff push year in and year out, they have lost the chip on their shoulder and do not seem motivated at all times.
It all starts with Russell Wilson. This was the year Pete Carroll gave into the noise and said “fine, you want Russell to cook, go for it!”. He is letting Russell and OC Brian Schottenheimer do whatever they want. Throw it 40 times? Sure. Have fun! Russell is now looked at as the man who has to lead this team to wins and it is not panning out as well as Seahawks fans thought it would. He looks rattled, he makes poor decisions that result in horrible turnovers and the lack of the running game has changed defensive game plans that terrorize Russell in the secondary and allow blitzing against the worst O-line in football.
If you want my true opinion, it’s more than just the on the field performance from the Seahawks and the opposing teams creating losses. I truly believe Russell knowing he has to push the Seahawks to wins on his own has messed with his mind. He has always had a run first offense where he could work off of that. Sometimes, Pete took it too far and did not let Russell throw at all, and that was an issue. But now, we have entered the other end of the spectrum where he throws too much. Russell has let the “Let Russ Cook” movement get to his head and it is showing on the field.
Fortunately for us, we don’t need a time capsule to see what Russell looked like 7 years ago, because we have the Cardinals and Kyler Murray! A team that is on the rise and no one knows what their ceiling can be. Kyler is an electric QB with elusive movement, quickness, and killer accuracy. Sound like someone you know? *cough* Russell *cough*… but I digress. I love what I have seen this year from the Cardinals and adding DeAndre Hopkins was one of the most unfair things to happen to the rest of the NFC West in a long time.
This game has the potential to be another classic, but it also has the potential to be a Cardinals blowout win. Let me explain something to you. When the Seahawks and Cardinals play, the home team loses. That is just how this recent rivalry works. I don’t know what the streak was, but it was 7 or 8 games in a row the home team lost up until this year when the Cardinals won in OT at home in week 7. The curse is broken, or is it? Maybe, it is just time for the Cardinals to start completely dominating this division matchup.
Keys To Victory:
The Cardinals offense will do just fine. There is no secret here. The Seahawks defense is historically bad and they will also be missing multiple starters due to injury. So, a historically bad defense just got worse. If they want to ensure their victory, they need to get to Russell Wilson with 4 rushers. This will allow the secondary to blanket DK Metcalf and have 2 safeties deep for most of the game. This is the look Russell cannot beat. For a guy that has been in the league for 9 years, it blows my mind how bad he is against 2 deep safeties in a zone look. The numbers show Russell is getting blitzed more, but I don’t think that is completely necessary these days. Russell will beat himself against this defensive scheme and if you can get pressure with 4 rushers as well, they can lock down this struggling offense.
The Seahawks need to get a run game going again. I am giving up on the defense and will just say “don’t let up 50 points at least”. I am going to focus on the Seahawks needing to get the offense back on track and just keep up with Kyler. Before, the offense was too run heavy and predictable and now, they are throwing too often into a zone defense and allowing blitzing. It is time to meet in the middle. Run the ball, throw screens and get the defense to guess what is going to happen next. It all starts with a successful run game. I know I am asking a lot when Chris Carson is injured and Carlos Hyde is questionable (as of right now). Handing the duties over to rookie DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer makes things very hard. But this is the NFL, figure it out.
One team is on the rise and the other is declining. I am not sitting here saying the Seahawks are completely doomed and it is time to rebuild, but with injuries and their current offensive and defensive gameplans, they need a complete change at the play-calling position. I truly believe the Cardinals are slowly taking over this division and they are a very exciting team that will crush my team for years to come.
Cardinals win 41-37