Week 17 Tale of the Tape: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackThere has been quite a bit of speculation that Arizona head coach Bruce Arians is likely to step down at the end of the season, and if that is the case, look for his players to sell out to send him out on a winning note. Drew Stanton returned to the lineup last week, and he is capable of escaping the rush and making plays to trigger the offense.The Seahawks rebounded from an awful home loss to the Rams in Week 15 with an impressive road win over the Cowboys last week. The Seahawks have an excellent chance to make the playoffs if they can win this game because the Atlanta Falcons have a tough game against the Carolina Panthers. Russell Wilson will come through with a huge performance here.
- OffenseThe Cardinals appeared to have a capable and versatile offense in training camp with one of the game’s best running backs leading the way. However, David Johnson went down in the first game of the season, and none of the alternatives have been successful. Larry Fitzgerald may not have a lot of speed, but he is still one of the game’s most dangerous receivers with 101-1,101-6 this season.The Seahawks have also had problems putting a competent running game on the field, and that may help explain some of this team’s inconsistency. Wilson may be the best running quarterback in the game, and he also has outstanding receivers in Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson. Both will fight hard for the ball and extra yardage, while Tyler Lockett has explosive speed on the outside.
- DefenseThe Cardinals have a winning structure on defense and that unit ranks sixth in yards allowed. The Cardinals are a hard-hitting team with plenty of speed, and they also have one of the game’s best pass rushers in Chandler Jones who has 15.0 sacks. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is a sure tackler who leads the team with 89 stops, while Tyrann Mathieu is one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league.The Seahawks are getting older on defense and this unit has been hurt badly by injuries. That doesn’t mean the Seahawks can’t come through with a big effort, but it is difficult for them to come through on a consistent basis. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner may be the best at his position in the league, while defensive end Frank Clark has 9.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Cardinals have had a tough season on special teams as they have been outgained on punt and kickoff returns. Placekicker Phil Dawson has had some difficulty this season, making 28-of-36 FG attempts. He has missed four FG attempts between 30 and 39 yards.The Seahawks have plenty of potential in the return game, because Lockett is one of the fastest players in the league and he has had success in the return game in the past. However, he has not broken free this year. Placekicker Blair Walsh may be shaky when the game is on the line.
This game looks like a dogfight because the Cardinals will do whatever they can to get Arians a win if this is his last game. Still, a playoff berth could be on the line for the Seahawks, and they will find a way to come out with the win.