Moore: Seahawks are better team than Cards, but face odd history in Glendale
Man, I really hear from readers and listeners when they think I’ve made a bad pick on the Seahawks’ games, but why is it always crickets after it turns out I was right? Funny how that goes. I picked the Saints to beat the Seahawks last week, and I heard about how dumb that was until it wasn’t so dumb after all – the Saints won 33-27, even with Teddy Bridgewater playing instead of Drew Brees.
Call me a blind squirrel if you want, but I’m scurrying around all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again, prepared to make another solid selection this week as the Seahawks face the Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz.
The Seahawks are favored by 5 1/2 points over a Cardinals team that tied the unbeaten Lions and played competitive games before losing to Baltimore and Carolina. So they’re 0-2-1 with a new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, and a new quarterback, Kyler Murray.
Most of the stats favor the Seahawks, or should I say, most of the stats point to definite flaws with the Cardinals. They allow 157 rushing yards a game, a perfect opponent for a sputtering Seattle running game to finally get on track. Murray has been sacked 16 times, including eight last week by the Panthers, so it’s a great opportunity for Jadeveon Clowney, Quinton Jefferson and perhaps Ziggy Ansah to have a big day in the Cardinals’ backfield.
Tight ends have ripped the Cardinals apart with 20 catches for 318 yards and four touchdowns in three games. Lions rookie T.J. Hockenson had six receptions for 131 yards and a TD, and Carolina’s Greg Olsen had six catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Will Dissly and maybe even newly-signed Luke Willson could have terrific afternoons in the desert. I’d also like to think that the Seahawks’ biggest hybrid player, tackle-tight end George Fant, might get his first catch of the season against this susceptible bunch in Arizona.
If this were a horse race, I’d say the Seahawks are coming back down in class. They’ve beaten two winless teams, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and lost to the only thoroughbred they’ve faced, New Orleans. Arizona looks more like a nag in comparison. The Cardinals are 1-8-1 in their last 10 home games, but remember: State Farm Stadium, which it’s called now, has not been exceptionally accommodating to the Seahawks.
They haven’t lost there since 2012, but it always seems like it’s a hard-fought battle, even when the Seahawks are favored, like they are this year. Last year they won on a late Sebastian Janikowski field goal. In 2017 they pulled out a 22-16 victory. And no one forgets what happened in 2016 — that game ended in a 6-6 tie.
The Cardinals might be 0-2-1 but they’re 2-1 against the spread, suggesting they’re better than the public perception. And the Seahawks? I thought they were viable Super Bowl contenders after beating the Bengals and Steelers, but last week’s loss to the Saints slowed that hype train down a bit. It’s fair to wonder if a so-so running game and secondary will prevent them from competing for the Lombardi Trophy.
But just as easily, if the Seahawks beat the Cardinals, they’ll be 3-1 and on a pace to go 12-4, and every 12-4 team in NFL history has been considered a Super Bowl contender heading into the playoffs.
I like the Seahawks this week, thinking they’ll run for 180 yards and come up with four sacks of Murray. Chris Carson will have his first 100-yard game and won’t fumble. I’m also thinking the pass rush will be so good against Murray that Tre Flowers will get his first career interception and Shaquill Griffin will get his first in 19 games. Those are my picks to click.
But because of what’s happened in the past in Glendale games, the Seahawks will be lucky to get out of there alive. Seahawks 24, Cardinals 23.
Follow Jim Moore (@cougsgo) on Twitter.