By Jim Moore
The Seahawks are coming off a largely unimpressive 20-13 win over the Titans as 13-point favorites last Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
But they’re 5-1 overall and 4-2 against the spread. Maybe they’re not meeting everyone’s expectations, but they’re still tied with New Orleans for the best record in the NFC.
They’ve got two teams pushing them – the Saints and the 4-2 49ers. The Seahawks need to stay in front of both teams to earn a bye and the No. 1 seed along with homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Seahawks are 1-6 in their last seven road games against Arizona, most recently losing last year’s opener 20-16. (AP)
The game against the Cardinals is more important than the ones they just finished against the AFC South. If they’re tied with the 49ers at the end of the year, the second tiebreaker is record within the division.
Oddsmakers expect the Seahawks to improve to 2-0 in the division Thursday night, making them 6.5-point favorites.
You can see why.
For starters, the Seahawks are the superior team. They have the vastly better quarterback and defense. Their offense, if not vastly, is better than the Cardinals’, too.
I think they’ll win, but I don’t know if they’ll cover the spread. For reasons unknown, they always seem to struggle in Glendale, losing six of their last seven, including a 20-16 defeat in the season opener last year.
They’re a different team on the road, but then again, so are most teams. The Seahawks were fortunate to win at Carolina and Houston and lost at Indianapolis. All of those games were decided by six points or fewer.
The Cardinals are 3-3 and undefeated at home, beating the Lions and the Panthers. They are coming off a 32-20 loss at San Francisco in a game they could have won were it not for four turnovers.
Carson Palmer’s an upgrade over the parade of bad quarterbacks the Cardinals had last year, but he’s still below average and hardly the guy he once was in Cincinnati. He’s thrown only seven touchdown passes in six games and 11 interceptions, second-most in the league to the Giants’ Eli Manning.
Larry Fitzgerald’s a fantastic receiver, but he’s nursing a sore hamstring, and the short week won’t help him at all.
It’s a tough call, but when you combine all of the factors, I like the Cardinals and the points.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 23.
Season record against the spread: 3-3.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.