The Arizona Cardinals will try and add to their NFC West lead when they take on the Seattle Seahawks this afternoon on FOX. Drew Stanton has done an admirable job for the Cardinals (9-1) while subbing for the injured Carson Palmer (knee). Over the past two weeks, Stanton has completed 24-of-37 passes for 391 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while closing out a 31–14 win over St. Louis and holding on to a 14–6 victory against Detroit.
The Cards will have their work cut out for them on the road against what should be a hungry Seahawks (6-4) squad. The reigning Super Bowl champs are currently on the outside of the playoff picture and are desperate for a division win after losing at St. Louis earlier this season. All eyes (and ears) will be on Marshawn Lynch, who has been at the center of a contrived media controversy despite his 1,060 yards from scrimmage and 12 scores.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Seattle -6.5
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Arizona’s Key to Victory: Clamping Down
The Cardinals’ quarterback situation — starter Carson Palmer has been lost for the season with a knee injury, but Drew Stanton has gone 3–1 this year in relief — has earned most of the headlines, but Arizona is winning with defense. The Cardinals are third in the NFL in points allowed, surrendering a stingy 17.6 per game. Against Calvin Johnson and the Lions in Week 11, the Cards threw up a brick wall, holding Detroit to 262 total yards and a pair of field goals. The Cardinals are also fifth in takeaways with 20 and would love to force some mistakes by a Seahawks offense that is adept at protecting the ball. “We're definitely one of the best in the game,” says Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. “I believe we have caught our stride. The last two games, we didn't give up over 200 yards passing with three or four interceptions. That's something we're hoping for the rest of the season.”
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Seattle’s Key to Victory: Restoring Order
The defending Super Bowl champions have seen their script get flipped this season, putting them in the position of hunter rather than hunted. While Seattle has scuffled to four losses, Arizona has quietly gone about their business in building the league’s best resume through 10 games. The Seahawks would love nothing more than to remind the upstarts who the reigning kings really are. Pete Carroll and his players aren’t ready to concede a division title just yet. “These guys (the Cardinals) are flying high, and we have to see if we can find a way to stop them and score on these guys and then we’ll take it to the next one,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited about the way this thing sets up and I think most people should be with all of the drama still out there about the division.”
Arizona sowed the seeds for this year’s ascendancy with a 17–10 win in Seattle in Week 16 last season. It wasn’t enough to propel the Cardinals to the playoffs, but it did prove that they could compete with anyone, including on the road. A team that is 3–1 away from home this season will find a way yet again, while putting a chokehold on the NFC West.