NFL Thursday Night Football: Seahawks/Cardinals Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Thursday night game on Fox presents a battle of two first-place teams in the NFC West. Both Arizona and Seattle share 6-3 records after the Cardinals won the first meeting between these two teams with their 37-34 overtime victory on October 25th.

Arizona has won two of their next three games after that triumph. The Cardinals come into this game on an emotional high after the Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins Hail Mary 43-yard touchdown pass snatched victory from the claws of defeat in the final moments of their game on Sunday with Buffalo. Murray completed 22 of 32 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception while adding another 61 rushing yards with two touchdowns on the ground in leading his team to the 32-20 victory.

Murray is completing 68.2% of his passes this season for 2375 passing yards with 17 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. He has another 604 rushing yards along with ten rushing touchdowns. The Cardinals have scored 33.3 points-per-game in the three games since their first meeting with the Seahawks while averaging 471.3 yards-per-game. They also got running back Kenyon Drake back from injury against the Bills. He ran the ball 11 times for 100 yards.

Seattle has lost two straight games after their 23-16 setback in Los Angeles against the Rams on Sunday. Quarterback Russell Wilson struggled by throwing two interceptions while completing only 22 of 37 passes for 248 yards. Wilson also lost a fumble amidst being under constant pressure from the Los Angeles defensive front. He got sacked six times while getting hit 12 times.

The Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed 30 sacks this season, tied for the fourth-most in the league. They have allowed 104 pressures on the quarterback along with 11.6 pressures on the QB per game. Those marks rank fourth and third-worst in the NFL. Wilson is responsible for seven turnovers in the last two games. Seattle is allowing their opponents to score 29.6 points-per-game and the 448.3 yards-per-game they are allowing remains the worst of all 32 teams. Yet the Seahawks have improved to allowing 386.7 yards-per-game in the three games since playing in Arizona last month.

Injuries have played a significant role in Seattle’s last two losses. Starting center Ethan Pocic did not play last week as he goes through the concussion protocol, and he is questionable for Thursday’s game. Backup center Kyle Fuller is listed as questionable, as well, after suffering a high ankle sprain on Sunday. Head coach Pete Carroll has not had the services of his top two running backs, Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, since the first meeting with the Cardinals (with Rashad Penny already out indefinitely with a knee injury). Both running backs, along with Travis Homer, are questionable for this game, but Hyde did take part in a limited practice on Tuesday.  Homer was downgraded to doubtful for tonight, but Hyde will return to the field to join DeeJay Dallas as the Seahawks’ primary running backs for this game.

Wide receiver Tyler Lockett is questionable with a knee strain after being limited to only two catches for 28 yards against the Rams, although being covered by cornerback Jalen Ramsey played a role with those under-performing numbers. Seattle cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin are also questionable in what will be challenging circumstances for the Seahawks playing on a short week.  Both cornerbacks were declared out on Wednesday.

Arizona received disappointing news on Wednesday with nose tackle Corey Peters declared out the season with a knee injury. He is the fourth defensive linemen to be placed on Injured Reserve, including starting defensive end Zach Allen. Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones is also on Injured Reserve with his bicep injury. Defensive end Jordan Phillips is also out with a foot injury.

Seattle did not have Jamal Adams available in the October clash with the Cardinals. Adams is healthy again as he registered seven tackles with two sacks and one forced fumble on Sunday. The Seahawks also added defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap since that first game with Arizona. BetAnySports lists Seattle as a 2.5-point favorite with the total set at 57. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

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

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