This is a hard game for some people to read. Do the Seahawks continue to struggle as they have the past couple of weeks? Do the Cardinals continue to play fairly well despite not having much of an offense? Do we finally get an answer as to what happened on Lost? We’ll get 2 of those questions answered later tonight. The other probably will not be answered for all of eternity.
Onto the Cardinals first….on paper, this might be a difficult matchup for the Seahawks. Their offense isn’t as bad as you might think or people make it seem….they are 23rd in the league in total offensive yards, and are 24th in offensive DVOA. So not great, but certainly not Jacksonville either. They are about the middle of the pack. Fortunately for us-they are playing against a defense that is smarter than your average bear (never thought I would be droppin’ Yogi references)
Defensively, there is plenty there to give you gas throughout the night. They have a stout front 7, and an athletic, playmaking secondary with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann “Honey Badger-cuz he don’t give a f***” Mathieu. They rank 7th in defensive DVOA…ahead of teams such as the 49ers, Baltimore and Chicago.
This is a game that the Seahawks must win if they want to force teams to play in Seattle to get to the Superbowl. Forget that 58-0 pummeling that the Cardinals took last year…The Hawks were catching fire Katniss style, and the Cards had about as much to play for as district 12.
Contrast the Cardinals rankings to the Seahawks, who are ranked 10th in offensive DVOA and 2nd in defensive DVOA.
Combine the home/road factors, and you have a game in which Vegas predicts the Seahawks will win by 6. Seems logical….and Vegas is usually about as right on these things as they are about knowing what it takes to throw a good party. Which is very. It probably will be a close game.
However, I see a few things that lead me to believe the Seahawks will make this game even more comfortable than that point spread.
First off-the Cardinals strength and weaknesses seem to play right into the hands of what the Seahawks like to do/not do.
The Cardinals are not good on offensive 3rd down conversions. In fact, they rank 31st, which is 2nd to last in the league. That means they are predictable, and don’t do a great job on 1st and 2nd to get them within a good 3rd down range. 3rd and long is exactly what you don’t want to get into when playing the Seahawks. Your best hope for defeating the Hawks is by grinding out 4 or 5 yards on 1st and 2nd down….and set up 3rd and shorts. Going 3rd and long against this defense where they can pin their ears back and do some ball Hawkin in the secondary, is where you get into trouble.
The reason the Colts beat the Hawks is because in the 2nd half, they were very good on 1st and 2nd downs, and got some miraculous plays from Andrew “Chosen one” Luck.
2. Their best weapon on offense….clearly Larry Fitzgerald, has not played well against the Legion of Boom. I’m not going to do a bunch of research here…you’ll just have to trust that he has not played well against us since we started using 6-4 corners in our secondary.
3. Their defense is legit, but the one thing that is clearly their strength….forcing turnovers (where they are 2nd in the league in INT) is just not something Russell Wilson has done very much this season. He has 8 TD’s to 4 INT’s…which isn’t great…but considering that a few of those picks were not of the serious, Matt Schaub nature (@Colts in a desperation heave, 49ers pinning them deep…essentially a punt) he has been pretty smart with the ball.
All in all…I think the Hawks win this one comfortably. They probably won’t really get going until the 2nd half, when Bevell has a chance to make adjustments to their aggressive defense, but the defense should be able to corral the Cards offense long enough to let the offense get into a groove.
I don’t do predictions….okay maybe just this once to see if I can bring some good mojo to the game….Seahawks win 27-16.
Categories: NFL and Seahawks