The Arizona Cardinals have a tough task ahead of them – trying to snap their eight-game losing streak Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Let's take a look at the matchup:
The Seahawks are vying for a playoff spot in the NFC and looking to avenge their 20-16 loss to Arizona in the season opener. Pete Carroll's squad will ride running back Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 85 yards against the Cardinals in Week One and has never gained over 100 yards on the ground against them. Lynch is second in the NFL in rushing though with 1138 yards and is the key cog in their offensive attack.
Russell Wilson has been playing very well lately as Seattle's signal-caller, tossing multiple touchdown passes in each of his last five games with just one interception. Wilson is short but very mobile and the Cards will try to keep him in the pocket where they could deflect some passes. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are Wilson's primary targets and both have performed well lately – they have combined for nine TD receptions over the last five contests.
Defensively, the Seahawks boast one of the best defenses in the league. Seattle is allowing just 16.8 PPG (third in the NFL) and 314 yards from scrimmage (fourth). They have one of the toughest secondary corps in the league and play in one of the loudest, if not the loudest stadium in the NFL. Five opposing quarterbacks have not thrown a single touchdown pass against them this season.
The Ryan Lindley experiment is finally over in the desert and what a disaster it was for the rookie QB. He's simply not ready yet. John Skelton is back as the starting quarterback until Kevin Kolb is ready to return (next week?). What a venue to return in – Seattle's CenturyLink Field, probably the most difficult stadium for an opposing QB in the league because of its raucous fans.
Skelton will face one of the best secondaries in the league as well, which means Larry Fitzgerald is probably in for another long afternoon. Fitzgerald has scored one touchdown in his last six games, has just 100-yard game all season and only five receptions in his last three games. Due to terrible quarterback play, he no longer looks like an All-Pro. The talent is still there though – that's what makes things so frustrating for him this season.
The Cardinals are a mess right now – according to the Associated Press, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has been fined an amount in the six figures for his behavior in the final minutes of Arizona's 7-6 loss to the Jets last week. He may have a limited role against Seattle.
On the positive side, defensive end Calais Campbell is hoping to play after missing three games with a calf injury. He has been limited in practice but will probably give it a go. However, Andre Roberts (ankle) has not practiced this week so Michael Floyd will start in his place.
Always-injured running back Beanie Wells was limited in practice this week with a sore knee. Wells, who had just 22 yards rushing last week against the Jets, should be able to play and is needed to help set up play action for Skelton.
Prediction: This is a brutal matchup for the Red Birds. Seattle is the toughest place to play in the league and the Seahawks are playing well as they seek a division title or playoff berth. Wilson is becoming a nightmare to defend and Lynch is ready to turn into "Beast Mode". Skelton is in for a long, long afternoon in the Pacific Northwest. The losing streak grows to nine. Wow. Seattle 31, Cardinals 10.
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