Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday October 24th, 2010 4:05 PM EST
Line: Seattle -6
The Cardinals and Seahawks are both 3-2 and coming off huge victories. The Cardinals knocked off the Saints in their last outing before their bye week and the Seahawks went into Chicago and took care of the Bears. Both teams have suffered embarrassing losses, but at the time being they are playing their best football.
Keys to the Game:
- The game is being played at Qwest field and the Cardinals have Max Hall under center. The Cardinals can pump crowd noise into their stadium, have their defense yell and scream while he is at the line of scrimmage and preach the loudness to Hall all they want, but until Hall actually gets into the stadium, he has no idea what he is in store for. When you talk about home field advantages in the NFL, the 12th man at Qwest field has to be at the top of the discussion, along with the Metrodome and Arrowhead. Seattle is 2-0 at home this year. They blew out the favored 49ers in their first outing and beat the favored Chargers by seven. This is the first time the Seahawks have been favored this season while playing at home. Rookie Max Hall is going to have to deal with an offensive line that can’t hear each other, false starts and a whole mess of hostility. It isn’t his fault he is in this position, it’s Ken Whisenhunt’s. Let’s not forget that despite having Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver, Hall has never thrown a touchdown pass in his NFL career. He isn’t NFL ready and he definitely isn’t Qwest ready. The Cardinals gave him no time to develop and they are paying dearly for prematurely cutting the cord with Matt Leinart.
- Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t even catch half the balls that are thrown at him. He has been targeted 55 times and only has 26 catches on the year. This is in no way Fitzgerald’s fault. This is a guy that runs perfect routes, has an unparalleled size and athleticism combination and catches everything within his reach. The blame rests solely upon the quarterbacks of the Arizona Cardinals. Sure, sometimes you don’t put the ball in the perfect spot for your receiver to go make a play and sometimes you have to throw it up to let your guy make something happen. What has to change is that Larry Fitzgerald is having to make a spectacular catch every time he touches the ball. Nobody expects Max Hall or Derek Anderson to be Kurt Warner, but they still should be able to utilize having one of, if not the single, best receiver in the NFL. Expect to see a quarterback change should this one get out of hand, which it might.
- Russel Okung looks like he might be the next big thing in the NFL. Seattle wanted a tackle that would be able to go up against speed rushers and be productive in the running game. Okung completely shut down Julius Peppers last week. He might not see a more difficult test during his entire career. Okung’s progress is a great sign for the future of the Seahawks and their offense. A true franchise left tackle is a beautiful thing to have.
- The Cardinals scored three touchdowns in their win against the Saints. What is odd about this is not that they scored, it is how they scored. The first touchdown was a fumble recovery by Levi Brown that was run in for a touchdown, the second was a fumble return by Kerry Rhodes and the final touchdown was scored on an interception return by Dominique Rodgers Cromartie. The Cardinals are playing great on defense. Rhodes has proved to be a fantastic addition to their defense, returning a fumble for a touchdown in back to back games. Scoring in this manner is a good way to win football games every once in a while, but it is impossible to remain consistent when your only offensive touchdown was a Levi Brown “scamper” after a fumble recovery. The Cardinals will need Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals running game to produce in order to be successful.
- Mike Williams is loving not having Deion Branch around. One game removed from Branch being sent off to the Patriots, Williams had 123 yards and ten catches against the Bears. He has stepped into the role as the number one receiver, though the Seahawks probably never imagined that as a possibility when they acquired him this off season. Golden Tate has been somewhat of a disappointment, but if Williams can continue this level of production, nobody is going to really notice.
While the Cardinals are performing exceptionally well this season with all things considered, the Seahawks have them at home. I don’t think Seattle is elite, but I do think they have the edge over the Cardinals while they are at Qwest. Luckily for both of these teams, the division remains wide open. Any team is still involved in the NFC Worst race. If the 49ers come away with a win over the Panthers this week, the loser of this game will be only one game ahead of the 1-5 49ers.
Free NFL Pick: Seattle -6