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Jim Moore Predicts: Seahawks’ early-season issues on the road will continue in Arizona

Playing at Arizona has never been easy for Russell Wilson's Seahawks. (AP)

Through three games of trying to predict Seahawks’ outcomes against the spread, I’m 0-2-1, missing on the Chicago and Dallas games and tying on the Denver game.

Double Coverage: Previewing Seahawks-Cardinals in Week 4

You could say I’m due to get a prediction right about the Arizona game, or you could say I’m more apt to blow that one too and fall to 0-3-1. If you put aside your Seahawks’ subjectivity, do you have any idea how things will turn out Sunday at State Farm Stadium?

Even though they renamed the place, it’s still the same stadium where bad things have happened in the past for the Seahawks – they lost a Super Bowl there, they lost Richard Sherman to a season-ending injury and Kam Chancellor to a career-ending injury there, they played a 6-6 tie there two years ago, and it was a house of horrors for Stephen Hauschka.

This year’s game seems like an easy one to handicap. The Seahawks appear to have the better team and unquestionably have the better quarterback. If Vegas put a point spread solely on Russell Wilson vs. Josh Rosen, the Seahawks’ QB would be favored by 24 points. Rosen might be good in time, but this will be the rookie’s first start.

You can’t blame new coach Steve Wilks for giving Rosen a shot. Sam Bradford has been terrible, leading the Cardinals to 6.7 points a game. The Rams’ defense that the Vikings went up and down the field against Thursday night is the same one that shut out the Cardinals. Arizona got two field goals against Washington and two touchdowns against Chicago, and that’s it. The Cardinals have defensive issues too. The changes in scheme and formation have not clicked thus far.

The Seahawks got their running game going in a 24-13 win over Dallas last week, and I would think they’d continue to have some success against the Cardinals, though I doubt that Chris Carson will run for more than 100 yards again. I’m hoping if the Seahawks run the ball 30 times, Carson will get 25 of them with Mike Davis getting three and Rashaad Penny two.

I like Davis more than Penny at this point, understanding that the first-round draft choice needs to get more opportunities, but as long as Carson is producing and running as hard as he is, I would limit the rookie’s carries to certain situations, such as those when the Seahawks are way ahead or way behind. I know that’s not going to happen, the Seahawks are going to insist upon giving Penny carries even though Carson’s clearly the superior player at this point. I get it – well, actually I don’t – but there’s a great chance Penny will end up being a tremendous running back, we just haven’t seen it as yet, and that might have more to do with his infrequent chances to get into a rhythm than anything else.

The Seahawks should be able to exploit the Cardinals’ secondary with play-action passes – Pro Football Focus says that Wilson has been the top play-action passer in the league through three games. Doug Baldwin’s expected return should also give the passing offense a boost.

When you try to weigh it all out, I feel like the Seahawks should be favored by 6 or 7 points, but they’re only a 3-point pick. It doesn’t make sense, but the guys in Vegas are better at their job than I am at mine. They probably know that Pete Carroll’s Seahawks teams are 2-12 in September road games. With the game being played on Sept. 30, I wonder if it would make any difference if they were playing on Monday night this week on Oct. 1? Maybe, maybe not, or probably not depending on your point of view.

There’s an old saying, when it looks too obvious to take one team over the other, you should either stay away from that game or go the other way. That said, everything adds up to a double-digit victory for the Seahawks, which is why I’m taking Arizona and the points. If that doesn’t make sense now, it will on Sunday afternoon in Glendale. Cardinals 20, Seahawks 17

BYU (+17) at Washington

I can’t understand how a team that won at Arizona and Wisconsin can be such a big underdog to a team that is good but not as good as everyone expected this season. In other words, the Huskies still look Pac-12 title contender good, just not Final Four in the national championship race good. Everyone I’ve talked to – which is basically one person, my buddy Dan – thinks BYU and the points is the bet of the century. You think I’m a loser? You should meet Dan. He knows less about this stuff than I do. For that reason, I see a 20-point win for the Dawgs. Huskies 27, Cougars 7.

Utah (-1 1/2) at WSU

Kyle Whittingham has had two weeks to prepare the Utes for this one, and he’s 10-5 coming off a bye week. But the Cougs have the much better quarterback, slightly offsetting the Utah advantage on defense. Cougars 31, Utes 28.

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