The Arizona Cardinals end their 2017 season in Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks have their postseason hopes on the line while the Cardinals are looking to play spoiler. Arizona is looking to end the season on a positive note. The season has been long and tough for everyone involved with the Cardinals due to injuries and mounting losses. With another rivalry game coming up, here are three storylines to watch for between the Cardinals and Seahawks.
Will Drew Stanton Continue His Winning Ways?
Drew Stanton loves playing on the road in the NFC West. Since joining the Cardinals in 2014, Stanton has played eight games on the road against the NFC West. He has won six of those games. Stanton won last week against the Giants for the home finale, his first game back from injury. Against the Giants, Stanton threw for two scores while surrendering two interceptions. Sunday, the Stanton led Cardinals take on the Seahawks at Centurylink Stadium.
The Seahawks are without cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor. Both players are on injured reserve. While the defense still ranks in the top 10 in passing yards allowed, the unit has struggled over the last three game, with an average of 353 yards of total offense per game. Those numbers give a bit of hope for an Arizona offense that looks to be coming to life. After 11 quarters without a touchdown, Stanton threw two touchdown passes to get the win last week. If Stanton and the offense can get the run game established, and hold on to the football, the Cardinals will have a real shot of winning on Sunday.
Can Chandler Jones Get the Franchise Sack Record?
The franchise record for sacks in a single season is 16.5, set in 1999 by defensive end Simeon Rice. With one game left in the season, linebacker Chandler Jones enters with 15 sacks, and hopes of a Defensive Player of the Year award. Jones was shutout against the Giants but was successful in bringing down Russell Wilson earlier this season. The Giants game was just the third time this season he was held without a sack.
Wilson has been sacked 40 times in 2017, fourth most in the NFL. Jones will be taking on left tackle Duane Brown as well as occasionally right tackle Germain Ifedi. The issue with the first meeting was the slipperiness of Wilson who routinely ran away from Cardinals defenders to save his team from a negative play. Jones is one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL. He is playing one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. He is also playing the most elusive quarterback in the NFL. Who will win out?
Will Cardinals Spoil the New Year for Seattle?
Arizona can prevent the Seahawks from clinching a playoff spot by beating their rivals. To qualify for the playoffs, Seattle must win or tie against the Cardinals, and hope the Falcons are unable to match their outcome. If Seattle wins they’ll need a loss or tie for the Falcons. A Seattle tie then requires a loss for the Falcons. Atlanta welcome Carolina on Sunday with both games taking place at the same time. Arizona has the chance to keep their rivals from the playoffs.
There are no secrets between the Cardinals and Seahawks. Both team are built with strong defenses and offenses that put the ball in the air. Both coaches are willing to take risks to win the game. Regardless of records, these games have been close in the past, ending in a tie last season. The previous meeting shows the Cardinals can stay with the Seahawks. Sunday the team has a chance to make an impact and take it to their rival.
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The Cardinals know they have the ability to beat Seattle. They had chances in the first meeting and have played the Seahawks tough on the road. Ultimately it comes down to which offense can find a routine and control the football. The Cardinals defense has been lights out the last few weeks are will chase Wilson all over the field. The Arizona offense will need to get some long drives going to put enough pressure on the Seahawks. In the end, it will be a tight one, Cardinals 23-21.