GAME: Seattle Seahawks (5-1, 1st, NFC West) at Arizona Cardinals (3-3, T3d, NFC West). TYPE. Regular season. WEEK: 7. WHEN: Thursday, 5:25 p.m., University of Phoenix Stadium. MEETING: 29th (Cardinals lead 15-13). STREAKS: Cardinals L 1; Seahawks W 1. HEAD COACHES: Pete Carroll, Seattle; Bruce Arians, Arizona. LINE: Seahawks by 6. TV: NFL Network (Seattle area JoeTV, Channel 10 on Comcast). RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
One player Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman won’t talk trash about is Arizona receiver and seven-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald. The two cross paths Thursday night when the Seahawks take on the Cardinals in an NFC West game at University of Phoenix Stadium, where Seattle traditionally struggles.
“There’s not a lot of opportunities (for trash talk), and this is just one of those games where you’re too locked in to do it,” said Sherman. “There’s definitely a mutual respect. He’s a great player, he’s been a great player for a while, he’s been incredibly consistent over the years, and he’s been consistent through multiple quarterbacks, multiple systems. He should’ve won the Super Bowl for his team when they went. He played a heck of a game, and you have to respect a guy like that.”
In 18 career contests against the Seahawks, Fitzgerald caught 107 passes for 1,436 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has five 100-yard receiving games at Seattle’s expense and is coming off a 117-yard, 1-TD performance against San Francisco.
Although the Seahawks rolled to a 58-0 victory over the Cardinals the last time the teams met (Dec. 9, 2012), Seattle has never been able to get much done in the desert, where Arizona is 2-0 this season. The Seahawks have lost six of seven there, including the last two by a combined seven points.
“They’re a brand new team to us,” coach Pete Carroll said of the Cardinals under first-year coach Bruce Arians. “There are things that look similar, but it’s not the same. All kinds of stuff has changed, so we have to look at them all over again. It’s not like we’re just carrying it over, same ol’ same ol’. It’s not like that.”
The biggest offensive change for Arizona is Carson Palmer, acquired in a trade from the Oakland Raiders. Palmer, Pete Carroll’s first Heisman Trophy winner at USC (2002), gives Arizona better quarterback play than it had last season, but Palmer hasn’t put up positive numbers so far. He’s completing less than 60 percent of his passes and has tossed 11 interceptions, two against the 49ers.
“He’s still a good quarterback who trusts his arm,” said Sherman. “He has a big arm, he’s accurate, and he’ll get the ball down there. He’s due for a big game so we’ll give him all the respect in the world and we’ll play the receivers as tight as we can.”
Palmer is fated to throw a lot Thursday, given the sad state of the Cardinals’ running game. Rashard Mendenhall is Arizona’s leading rusher with 259 yards 35 fewer than Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson’s biggest test will come from an Arizona secondary that has eight interceptions, three from corner Patrick Peterson. Additionally, the Cardinals are ranked 13th in sacks (16), although the probable injury loss of DE Calais Campbell (3.5 sacks) could hurt the pass rush.
Wilson has shown repeatedly that he can escape pressure and burn defenses with his legs. Wilson’s athleticism — again –is probably going to be the key.
Arizona was the site of Wilson’s first professional game (Sept. 9, 2012). He completed 18 of 34 for 153 yards with one TD and one interception in a 20-16 loss.
“It was a battle,” Wilson said this week. “I just think about last year and how much further our offense has come, and how much further I’ve come. So the good thing is I have learned a lot, and it’s a new year. At the same time, they’re a new football team. They got a new coaching staff. Coach Arians is doing a great job. He’s a football coach that everyone loves playing for. They got a great defense, they fly around, do a lot of good things.”
Wilson benefits from the return of TE Zach Miller, who had hamstring problems. But OT Breno Giacomini, recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, will be out a few more weeks. DE Chris Clemons, who injured an elbow against Tennessee, is questionable. MLB Bobby Wagner, on the mend from a high ankle sprain, is out.
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 12, 1976 when the Cardinals recorded a 30-24 win at the Kingdome in a game in which Seattle quarterback Jim Zorn threw two touchdown passes to Sam McCullum. The teams split last year, Arizona winning 20-16 at home and Seattle romping 58-0 at CenturyLink Field behind Marshawn Lynch’s three touchdowns. The Seahawks haven’t won at Arizona since Nov. 14, 2010. The clubs meet again Dec. 22 at CenturyLink Field.
Seahawks: Scored 157 points (26.2 per game), ranking 9th; allowed 94 points (15.7 per game), 3rd; differential of +63 points ranks 4th. Cardinals: Scored 111 points (18.5), ranked 25th; allowed 127 (21.2), 12th; differential of -16 points ranks 22nd.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (63-55 career, 30-24 Seattle) is in his fourth season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson vs. Carolina, 25 of 33, 320 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 115.7 passer rating; vs. San Francisco, 8 of 19, 142 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 63.9 passer rating; vs. Jacksonville, 14 of 21, 202 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 117.5 passer rating; vs. Houston, 12 of 23, 123 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 48.7 passer rating; vs. Indianapolis, 15 of 31, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT78.7 passer rating; season, 91.2; vs. Tennessee, 23 of 31, 257 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 98.5 passer rating. Tarvaris Jackson vs. Jacksonville, 7 of 8, 129 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 158.3 passer rating.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
- REGULAR SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 5-1-0. Home: 3-0. Road: 2-1. Vs. NFC: 2-0. Vs. AFC: 3-1. Vs. NFC East: 0-0. Vs. NFC North: 0-0. Vs. NFC South: 1-0. Vs. NFC West: 1-0. Points For: 157 (26.2). Points Against: 94 (15.7).
- NFL RANKS: Scoring Offense — 26.2 (9th); Total Offense — 372.7 (10th); Rushing Offense — 157.7 (2nd); Passing Offense — 215.0 (24th); Scoring Defense — 15.7 (3rd); Total Defense — 290.2 (2nd); Rushing Defense — 101.8 (11th); Passing Defense — 188.3 (2nd).
- Won four games in September for the second time in franchise history (1984, 4-1) and also had its fourth undefeated September (3-0 in 2003, 2004 and 2006).
- Russell Wilson has the second-highest passer rating (107.5) since Week 9 of the 2012 season. Peyton Manning: 114.2.
- Over his past 14 starts, Wilson is 12-2. He has exceeded a 100.00 passer rating nine times.
- Wilson has seven fourth-quarter comebacks, the most recent against Houston Sept. 29.
- Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL with 17 100-yard game games since 2011 and has rushed for 100 or more yards in 17 of his last 31.
- Since Week 9 of 2012, Lynch has rushed for 3,018 yards and 25 touchdowns, both totals leading the NFL (Adrian Peterson 2,755 yards, 20 TDs).
- Rank third in the NFL and first in the NFC with a +7 turnover differential (Kansas City is +12 and Tennessee +8).
- Seattle’s +63 point differential ranks first in the NFC and fourth in the NFL (Denver +107).
- Seattle limited opposing quarterbacks to a 65.1 passer rating, lowest in the NFC.
- Richard Sherman has picked off 15 passes since 2011, most in the NFL. His three picks this year are tied for second in the NFC. Sherman has also defensed 49 passes since 2011, most in the NFL.
- Seahawks 38-26 in prime time and 1-3 on Thursday nights. Seahawks last appeared on Thursday Night Football Oct. 18, 2012, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 13-6.
SEAHAWKS 2013 OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS 2013 DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Thomas 41, Wagner 34, Wright 34|
|Sacks||Bennett 3.5, McDonald 2.5, Avril 2.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Bennett 10, Clemons 6, McDonald 4|
|Interceptions||Sherman 3, Thomas 3, Chancellor 2|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 8, Browner 5, Thurmond 5|
|Forced Fumbles||Thomas 2, 4 tied with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Chancellor, Mebane, McDaniel, Wright 1|
CARDINALS NOTES: Arizona has defeated Detroit (25-21), Tampa Bay (13-10) and Carolina (22-6) and lost to St. Louis (27-34), New Orleans (31-7) and San Francisco (32-20) . . . The Cardinals rank 26th in total offense (322.3), 24th in rushing offense (85.7), 18th in pass offense (236.7), 25th in scoring offense (18.5), 15th in total defense (350.7), fifth in rush defense (90.7), 19th in pass defense (260.0)and 12th in scoring defense (21.2) . . . Rashard Mendenhall is Arizona’s leading rusher with 259 yards and two TDs . . . Larry Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals in receiving with 30 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns . . . Bruce Arians is in his first year as head coach after serving as offensive coordinator at Indianapolis (2012), Pittsburgh (2007-08) and Cleveland (2001-03) . . . The Cardinal roster includes DL Alameda Ta’amu, a product of Rainier Beach High School and the University of Washington. Ta’amu was a team captain and honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2011. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ta’amu in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, but cut him after training camp this season. The Cardinals claimed him.
CARDINALS QUARTERBACKS: Carson Palmer, who played under Pete Carroll at USC, has completed 131 of 221 passes for 1,483 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a passer rating of 69.3. Palmer had his best statistical game against St. Louis, throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer has thrown at least one interception in every game and has suffered multiple picks in his last four, including three against Carolina.
2013-14 KEY DATES: Oct. 27 — Trade deadline; Jan. 4-5, 2014 — Wild-card playoff games; Jan. 11-12 — Divisional playoff games; Jan. 19, 2014 — AFC and NFC Championship games; Jan. 26, 2014 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Honolulu; Feb. 2, 2014 — Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium, New York; Feb. 18-25, 2012 — Scouting combine, Indianapolis; March 11, 2014 — Free agency begins; May 8-10, 2014 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|Seattle||5-1-0||1-0-0||Thursday at Arizona|
|S. Francisco||4-2-0||2-1-0||Sunday at Tennessee|
|St. Louis||3-3-0||1-1-0||Sunday at Carolina|
|Arizona||3-3-0||0-2-0||Thursday vs. Seattle|
2013 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/8/13||at San Diego||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||31-10||1-0|
|8/17/13||vs. Denver||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||40-10||2-0|
|8/23/13||at Green Bay||5 p.m.||CBS||W||17-10||3-0|
|8/29/13||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Fox||W||22-6||4-0|
2013 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/8/13||at Carolina||10 a.m.||FOX||W||12-7||1-0|
|9/15/13||vs. SF||5:30 p.m.||NBC||W||29-3||2-0|
|9/22/13||vs. JAX||1:25 p.m.||CBS||W||45-17||3-0|
|9/29/13||at Texans||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-20||4-0|
|10/6/13||at Indy||10 a.m.||FOX||L||34-28||4-1|
|10/13/13||vs. Tenn||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||20-13||5-1|
|10/17/13||at Arizona||5:25 p.m.||NFLN||—||——||—|
|10/28/12||at StL||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||—||——||—|
|11/3/13||vs. Tampa||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|11/10/13||at Atlanta||10 a.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|11/17/13||vs. Minn||1:25 p.m.||FOX||—||—–||—|
|12/2/13||VS. NO||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||—||——||—|
|12/9/12||at SF||1:25 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/15/13||at NYG||10 a.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/22/13||vs. Ariz||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/29/13||vs. STL||1:25 p.m.||FOX||W||——||—|