Seattle Seahawks take on surprisingly average Arizona Cardinals in Arizona and on Thursday

Last week’s Seahawks victory over the Tennessee Titans was closer than it should have been. The only touchdown they gave up was on a freak mistake on a field goal attempt, but the team nearly doubled the Titans yardage production, and ended up only beating the Titans by a touchdown.

It’s a good day to be able to say that beating a 3-2 team at home by only a touchdown is disappointing. It’s still disappointing though, and the Seahawks made some critical mistakes that could have lost the game against the Titans, that likely would have lost them a game against a better team, and even got away with some mistakes that didn’t end up costing them.

That game goes in the standings as a win, though, however disappointing. Of course, you already knew this. You understand football. Or at least you understand football well enough to understand how standings work. I mean, football’s complicated, but standings? They’re pretty straight forward.

Less straight forward is why the Seahawks have turned the ball over twice in each of their last four games. They’ve caused 10 turnovers in those games, but whatever. They’re on pace for 27 turnovers, and last year only two of the 16 teams that allowed 26 or more turnovers made the playoffs. Those teams were Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Pace is quite a false measure in this kind of sample, of this kind of state, and this kind of inference, but regardless of the validity of the measure, the turnovers must stop. Turnovers may not stabilize early, but the certainly correlate quite considerably with success.

The Cardinals are somewhat surprising. Though Carson Palmer was a near-certainty to play better than the shit show that was John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer, he’s giving the quartet a run for their figurative money – if money is in fact exchanged at a higher rate for poorer performance. Palmer has thrown 11 interceptions so far this season, and he’s targeted Larry Fitzgerald 53 times, the most on the Cardinals by quite a bit.

Palmer zoning in on Fitzgerald may sound like bad news, because Larry Fitzgerald is very good. Richard Sherman is also very good, and Richard Sherman is particularly good at making big plays. Carson Palmer has been susceptible to opposing defenses making big plays against him so far this year.

 

Injuries

Seattle

Chris Clemons, DE (Elbow) – Hasn’t practiced this week since hurting his elbow against Tennessee.

Breno Giacomini, OT (Knee) – Hasn’t practiced in several weeks. Hard to imagine Giacomini playing without practicing.

Zach Miller, TE (Hamstring) – Full practice Tuesday, seems likely to play barring a setback.

Bobby Wagner, MLB (Ankle) – Missed last week and hasn’t practiced. Seahawks working out linebackers.

Arizona

John Abraham, DE (Shoulder) – Limited practice both days. Played last week and was on report.

Calais Campbell, DE (Neck) – Missed practice Monday, limited practice Tuesday.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR (Hamstring) – Limited practice both days this week. Was questionable but played last week.

Karlos Dansby, LB (Quadriceps) – Limited practice both days this week.

 

All stats from Football Outsiders.

Quarterback Russell Wilson Carson Palmer
DVOA 10.6% -21.9%
DYAR 234 -98
QBR 60.9 37.0
RushDVOA 30.6% N/A
Running backs Marshawn Lynch Rashard Mendenhall
DVOA -4.1% -10.0%
DYAR 21 -5
  Robert Turbin Andre Ellington
DVOA -18.0% 67.5%
DYAR -7 75
Wide Receivers Doug Baldwin Larry Fitzgerald
DVOA 42.8% 2.5%
DYAR 117 55
  Golden Tate Michael Floyd
DVOA 1.8% -2.4%
DYAR 42 32
Tight End Luke Willson Jim Dray
DVOA 2.4% -0.3%
DYAR 9 7
Team Defense Seattle Arizona
DVOA -20.6% -10.6%

 

The Seahawks seem like a pretty big mismatch for Arizona, and yet, they’ve lost their last two trips down there, and everyone will want you to know that they’ve lost a certain amount out of the last certain amount of games going down there. Most of that certain amount probably had different coaches on both teams. Or different players. Maybe different stadiums. Those are dumb stats.

That’s not to say that Arizona won’t perform better at home, or that this is a game that can be looked over. Arizona’s offense may be a bunch of aging skill position players trying to get the band back together, but their defense is stout. If Calais Campbell misses this game that’s very good news for Seahawks fans, and Patrick Peterson is in the discussion for the best cornerback in the NFL.

 

Predictions

This barely feels like a prediction, but Richard Sherman is going to end up the endzone doing something controversial in celebration of having reached the endzone with the ball in his hand.

Larry Fitzgerald will have a bunch of catches.

Larry Fitzgerald catches will be vastly outnumbered by how many times the announcing team talks about how great he is, and how hard he works.

Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner‘s names will be invoked early and often, as well.

We’ll finally see something from Christine Michael.

Sidney Rice will fall poorly once, and make one amazing catch.

Doug Baldwin will reach the endzone.

Russell Wilson will end his press conference with “Go Seahawks.”

Seahawks win 20-10.