SNF PREVIEW: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS

BY ADAM GREENE

Thanks to the Las Vegas Raiders going full White House Rose Garden party on us and getting their entire offensive line exposed to the coronavirus, the NFL stepped in with a little schedule kung fu and slid the Seattle Seahawks at the Arizona Cardinals to their prime time showcase on Sunday Night Football.

And while everyone wanted to see if Jon Gruden could get revenge against his old Tuck Rule nemesis, Tom Brady, instead we’ll have to settle for a match up of two of the most excited quarterbacks in the game; Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (+3, O/U: 55)

Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. EST

Broadcast: NBC

THE HISTORY

Before the NFL realigned in 2002, the Seahawks and Cardinals didn’t have much of a history at all. Before that realignment, they’d met a total of six times since Seattle joined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1976. The then St. Louis then Phoenix, then Arizona Cardinals dominated that early series, winning their first five games in a row including back-to-back overtime victories. The Seahawks’ first ever win over the Cardinals came in 1998, 33-14. There have been plenty since.

Both in the NFC West now, the teams will enjoy their 43rd meeting Sunday night. Seattle has a 21-20-1 edge in the all time rankings, but lost their last contest against Arizona last year on Dec. 22, 2019. Kyler Murray passed for 118 yards and a touchdown in the win, but the primary damage was done by running back Kenyan Drake, who piled up 166 yards and two scores. Russell Wilson’s grill was stone cold that night, passing for 169 yards and a TD in the loss.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-0)

The Seahawks come into this game undefeated, off a bye, with Russell Wilson leading the early MVP race by a wide margin. Wilson has completed 72.8 percent of his passes this season for 1,502 yards and a league-leading 19 touchdowns with just three interceptions. His 11.2 touchdown percentage is the best in the league, as is his yards per attempt and averaged yards gained per attempt. His passer rating, through five games, is an insane 129.8.

Here’s the problem. Their defense is awful. They’ve given up at least 23 points a game this season and kept contests close that should have been blowouts. Wilson has needed to perform at the high rate he has for Seattle to win games and that’s just unsustainable.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-2)

After a two-game skid against the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals are back on track with back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. Granted, those are bad teams, but you play the schedule you’re dealt.

Murray didn’t do much with his arm against Dallas last week, completing just nine of 24 passes, but they were for 188 yards and two touchdowns with no picks. Drake ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns, with Murray adding 74 yards and a score of his own.

THE PICK

While it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cardinals come out on top in a shootout, I think the bye gives Seattle too much of an advantage. Neither team is particularly good on defense, but Wilson is such an X-Factor, it seems almost dumb to bet against him at this point. I won’t. And with just a three-point spread, this is an easy call. Seattle 27, Cards 23

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