Cardinals have more incentive than Seahawks in regular-season finale
It will be an interesting game Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. And I’m not quite sure if interesting is the right word.
It’s a strange one because neither team is truly playing for anything of note. Yes, the Cardinals can earn the No. 1 seed instead of a No. 2 if they beat the Seahawks and Tampa Bay beats Carolina.
In the first half at least, there will be all kinds of scoreboard watching in Charlotte by Arizona fans to see if the Bucs can hang with the Panthers and maybe pull off the upset.
But if Carolina is way out in front, expect Bruce Arians to rest Carson Palmer and other banged-up starters in the second half.
The Seahawks have already clinched a playoff spot but can move up to the No. 5 seed from No. 6 with a win. I don’t see that as anything to play for. In fact, it might be worse to be the fifth seed because you’ll face the fourth seed, Washington, next weekend. The Redskins are hotter than whichever team gets the No. 3 seed, Minnesota or Green Bay.
Pete Carroll said he wouldn’t rest Russell Wilson in spite of two offensive-line starters being out. Alvin Bailey will start at left tackle for Russell Okung (calf), and Mark Glowinski will start for the first time at right guard for J.R. Sweezy (concussion).
If Wilson gets hurt playing behind that makeshift line, Carroll will be second-guessed so often he’ll be 18th-guessed, but it goes against his win-forever, always-compete policy, which makes no sense in a game you might be better off losing than winning.
Then again, you could argue that you’d rather see the Seahawks face the Redskins, that you don’t want any part of Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field or you might be nervous about beating a team twice in the same season, which would be the case with Minnesota. When the Vikings lost 38-7 to the Seahawks early last month, they might have just had a bad game like Seattle had last Sunday against the Rams.
The Seahawks have not been 6 ½-point underdogs since early in the 2012 season at San Francisco. If this game meant something to both teams, I’m guessing Arizona would be favored by 3 ½ or 4. Oddsmakers figure Arizona has slightly more incentive and is already the better team record-wise plus it’s playing at home.
I’m going to lay the lumber simply because there’s nothing on the table for Seattle. I expect Wilson to be on the sideline in the second half, and with Tarvaris Jackson playing against Arizona’s defense, I’d want 10 points or more if I were taking the Seahawks.
Line: Arizona by 6 ½.
Prediction: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 13
Season record against the spread: 5-9-1.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.