The Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle this week to square off against the Seahawks at Century Link field in what is one of the most anticipated contests of the 2015 season. These teams find themselves #1 and #2 in most experts power rankings, and the order is largely a matter of opinion. If you’re a Cardinals fan, you’re likely to give the nod to Arizona. If a rabid 12, then obviously your Seahawks reign supreme.
Both of these squads come into the game sporting identical 7-1 records, and both feature offenses AND defenses ranked in the top 10 in the league. The Cardinals boast the league’s #1 offense to go along with their 9th ranked defense. On the other side, Seattle brings the #1 defense against that #1 offense, while ranking #3 in total offense, themselves. Adding to the intrigue, both of these teams are coming off badly needed byes, ensuring that each is about as fresh as a team can be after 8 brutal weeks of smash mouth football.
The story lines for this contest simply write themselves. Carson Palmer is experiencing a resurgence in his late career down in the valley of the sun, with another long time veteran, WR Larry Fitzgerald, benefiting greatly from the prototypical pocket passers presence. Seattle, conversely, sets up the pass off of the ground threat of all world RB Marshawn Lynch. No spring chicken, himself, Lynch is nonetheless leading the league in rushing, while averaging a ridiculous 5.17 yards per carry. And, oh, by the way…. he’s Seattle’s leading receiver, as well. The enigmatic RB’s presence is allowing QB Wilson the luxury of maturing into his own stardom at a comfortable pace.
The added element of the divisional rivalry between two teams that simply do not like each other makes this ‘Must See’ TV. The winner of this game will be in the drivers seat not only for the NFC West crown, but for HFA throughout the NFC playoffs, as well. There’s a lot on the line in this mid-season contest. But, despite the outcome of this particular meeting, we won’t be surprised if the final determination comes down to the rematch between these two powerhouses in week 17.