Seattle Seahawks Set up to Shake Off the bad Start

Dec 21 2014 Glendale AZ USA Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson catches a touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle won 19-3 and 35-6 in two meetings past year, although neither game featured Carson Palmer at quarterback for Arizona. Carson Palmer has full command of the offense, and running back Chris Johnson has been one of the best free agent signings of the year.

The Rams will have a chance to hang around with three straight home games in December, but their only two road tests come at Cincinnati (currently 8-0) and Seattle. How will the Seahawks respond? They average 39.7 penalty yards per game. Seattle's passing game ranks 28th in the NFL, and Wilson doesn't have a 300-yard passing game all season.

None of the teams Arizona has beaten this season has a winning record, which leads to the perception that the Cardinals' record is not that impressive, a notion Arians disputes. Seattle is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Arizona.

Both defenses are very good, and both offenses should throughout the game. When he does go off like that at halftime, and call you out, he does not sugar-coat anything.

Both teams are coming off their bye weeks and will be mostly healthy for Sunday's matchup. Coach Pete Carroll said he expects Willson to play on Sunday. Sparks for sure, as these two teams genuinely do not like each other.

Oct 4, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati (76) looks on prior to the snap during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. Palmer struggled that day but Russell Wilson did too, completing just 11-of-27 passes for 108 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

On defense, Cary Williams is not filling the void left by Byron Maxwell as desired, and it's easy to say that the unit is not playing with the same tenacity under Kris Richard that they were the last two seasons under Dan Quinn. But more than anything else, the Seahawks are buoyed by being back in a realm they've made their own: the second half of the season.

And depending on how they choose to attack that opportunity, they may wind up getting a head start on packing for the offseason instead. Both teams are among the statistical leaders in every defensive category, with the exception, surprisingly, of sacks (the Seahawks are 11 with 20, the Cardinals 27 with 13).

NOTES: Safety Tyrann Mathieu has played well overall this season, intercepting two passes, returning one for a touchdowns. While Seattle can occasionally give up small chunks in the running game, they are able to limit explosive plays in the running game.

The Cardinals' offense is notorious for taking deep shots.

The NFL's third-leading rusher, Johnson has scampered for more than 100 yards in back-to-back contests and four of his last six outings while his 4.8 yards per carry is his most since his 2,006-yard season in 2009.

Averaging 139.5 rushing yards per game, the Seahawks rank third in the NFL.

Lane could be a big boost to Seattle's defense and special teams. As Graham gets acclimated to the offense Wilson is increasingly looking for him while on the move, and Graham has 17 receptions over his past three games. You better have a plan how to beat cover 3, and all season long, I've seen the Cardinals have a three-way vertical stretch plan to beat Cover-3. They have the No. 3 run defense in the NFL by DVOA.

 

"I've known Blaine Gabbert from the time he came to the 49ers until now", Tomsula said before the decision was announced.

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