NFL Sunday Night Football: Seahawks/Cardinals Preview

by Alec McMordie

The Sunday Night Football game on NBC is a battle of two NFC West teams for the second straight week. Tampa Bay and Las Vegas were the originally scheduled teams for this prime time slot.  But with the COVID outbreak threatening the ability for the Raiders to play on Sunday, the NFL switched that game with the Seattle/Arizona clash.

The Seahawks look to continue their unbeaten 5-0 start to the season as they return to action after their bye week. Seattle played on Sunday Night Football two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat Minnesota by a 27-26 score. The Seahawks' defense stopped a Minnesota 4th-and-1 attempt late in the game after Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer bypassed a field goal attempt that could have given his team a 28-20 lead. Converting that fourth down likely wins the game, but when it failed, it provided Russell Wilson the opportunity to embark on the game-winning touchdown drive.

Wilson is one of the frontrunners to win the Most Valuable Player award. He is completing 72.8% of his passes for 1502 yards with an 8.9 yards per attempt average. His 19 touchdown passes are the most in the NFL, and he has thrown only three interceptions. Wilson has also added another 153 rushing yards. He leads an offense that is scoring 33.8 points per game while averaging 395.8 yards per game.

The Seattle defense remains a concern after they allowed the Vikings to gain 449 yards against them while keeping Wilson off the field for almost 40 minutes of that game two weeks ago. The Seahawks are allowing 471.2 yards per game, which is last in the league by nearly 40 yards per game more than what the Atlanta Falcons are giving up. Seattle will be without safety Jamal Adams for this game as he is out with a groin injury.

Arizona plays in their second-straight prime time game after they crushed the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night by a 38-10 score as a 1-point underdog. That victory raised the Cardinals record to 4-2 on the season in the highly competitive NFC West. Kyler Murray completed only 9 of 24 passes, but he made them count for 199 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He added another 74 yards on the ground with another touchdown.

Murray is completing 65.9% of his passes on the season for 1487 yards with a 7.3 yards per attempt average. He has thrown ten touchdown passes, but he has tossed six interceptions. Murray has added another 370 rushing yards while reaching the end zone six times.

The Arizona offense has thrived with the addition of wide receiver De’Andre Hopkins as they are averaging 27.7 points per game along with 402.5 yards per game. Hopkins has caught 47 passes for 601 yards with two touchdowns in a Cardinals uniform, but he is dealing with a lingering ankle injury that limited his participation in Friday’s practice. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is “hopeful” he can play at full speed in this game.

The Arizona defense might have played their best game of the season on Monday in limiting Andy Dalton and the Cowboys’ offense to just 344 yards while forcing four turnovers. The Cardinals are second in the NFL by allowing only 18.7 points per game. But Arizona will be without All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones who is on Injured Reserve with a biceps injury. Jones generated 19 sacks last season.

These two teams split their two divisional games last year. The Seahawks won the first game on the road in September by a 27-10 score before Arizona upset them in Seattle in December by a 27-13 margin. Jones sacked Wilson four times in that game while registering six hits on the quarterback. BookMaker has the Seahawks as a 3-point road favorite with the total set at 55. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.