Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Hello Hawks fans! I gotta tell ya, I don’t much care for these Thursday night games the NFL has come up with. I know it gets another night of national TV exposure and makes money for the league, but I don’t think it is good for the product. I have not made a study of it so do not really have the facts of the matter, but it just makes sense to me that teams will not play as well just three plus days after the major exertions of a game on Sunday. The physical aspect of things aside, it seems to me that the short time to prepare would also have a degrading effect on the quality of play.
Regardless of these considerations, the Seattle Seahawks will take the field Thursday evening down in the desert against their NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals. Because of the short week Pete Carroll and crew actually started preparing for this game while getting ready for the Titans last week and are drilling in the game plan with walk through practices and game film study only, no contact or heavy work. You want the players to have their legs for the game and the light practice load on a short week facilitates that.
At first glance this game looks like a Seahawk win. In the Cardinals Seattle is facing a team with the 26th ranked offense in the league (out of 32 teams) and that offense will be going against the Seahawks’ second ranked defense. Based on that alone this game sounds like a mismatch. A closer look, however, shows that the Cardinals have the 5th best rushing defense which directly offsets Seattle’s number two ranked rushing attack. At 15th overall in total yards allowed, the Cardinals present a formidable threat to the Hawks offense. Their defense is stout and despite the overall poor performance on offense, Arizona features a player who may just be the best receiver in the NFL, future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz has already caught 30 balls this season and has more catches for more yards (405) and more touchdowns (4) than any Hawk receiver. He has been a major thorn in the Hawks side ever since he came into the league almost ten years ago and it will be fun to see how he does against the Legion of Boom. I would like to see Carroll let Richard Sherman shadow him all over the field like he let him do against Anquan Boldin of the 49ers in week two.
That was an evening that Boldin would like to forget. He caught 1 pass for seven yards.
Getting the ball to Fitzgerald and the other Card receivers is veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer, who has already thrown for nearly 1500 yards and seven TDs this season, played college ball at USC where he was coached by Pete Carroll during Pete’s early years there. Together Carroll, Palmer and the Trojans won the 2002 Orange Bowl and Palmer was awarded the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player for his great play that year. He is a talented passer and quarterback and he can beat you badly if he gets hot.
Also, when you consider that this is an NFC West divisional game and that it is on the Cardinals home turf in front of their rabid fans, you know that the Hawks will get the Cardinals’ best effort. As often as the two teams play there are precious few secrets to be had between them. It’s just a question of going out and buckling up the chinstraps and seeing who is bigger, better, stronger and faster.
As for the Hawks, they get another key offensive piece back this week with the return of tight end Zach Miller from a hamstring injury. That can only help. At last report defensive lineman Chris Clemons is questionable with a hyper-extended elbow and will be a game time decision.
For a short week preview you are now pretty well briefed, but there is one more important factor to consider in this game. This factor is a distinct negative for the Cardinals and it is something that I think could make all the difference. Other than Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Carson Palmer has thrown more interceptions (11) than any other quarterback in the league. For all his talent, he will put the ball where the other team can take it and I think against the Seahawks this will be the deciding element. Expect multiple interceptions from Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and company and at least one pick 6 in a Seahawk 7 to 10 point victory.
OK Hawks fans…you know where I stand!
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved