Thursday Night NFL Preview: Seahawks at Cardinals

Frank Cooney

November 09, 2017 at 11:24 am.

November 5, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) passes the football against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

November 5, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) passes the football against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


KICKOFF: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium, TV: NBC, NFLN, Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (field reporter)

SERIES HISTORY: 37th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 18-17-1. With a 1-0-1 record against the Seahawks in 2016, the Cardinals won the season series for the first time since 2009 and for just the third time since division realignment in 2002. Arizona is 6-4-1 at home against Seattle since the team began playing at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. Since Bruce Arians took over as head coach in 2013, the Cardinals are 0-3-1 vs. the Seahawks at home and 3-1 against them in Seattle. Last year in Glendale, the two teams battled to a 6-6 tie with kickers Chandler Catanzaro and Steven Hauschka both missing field goals from under 30 yards in the final 3:25 of overtime.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Little-known stat in this matchup is that Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton, pressed into action when Carson Palmer broke his left arm, is shooting for his fifth consecutive victory as a starter. No. 4 was Sunday against the 49ers, 20-10. OK, the streak began almost three years ago for the career backup. But he does have a 7-3 record as a starter in place of Palmer, and is 3-0 at home.

That said, the visiting Seattle Seahawks are 3-0-1 in their last four trips to Glendale and they are locked and loaded with dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson.

To make Stanton comfortable, and keep the Seahawks honest, the Cardinals will once again lean heavily on 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson to set the tone early and often. It’s doubtful he will carry 37 times, as he did against San Francisco, but head coach Bruce Arians said Peterson will get plenty of snaps once again, even on short rest.

If Peterson is able to become the focus of attention, Stanton can use play-action against the aggressive Seahawks and target standout receiver Larry Fitzgerald. If the Cardinals cannot establish the run, Stanton’s winning streak could be in trouble.

On defense, the Cardinals won’t be too concerned about the Seahawks’ run game because it barely exists. Instead, the key will be containing the edges against Wilson, who is at his best throwing on the run and finding help deep down the field. If the Cardinals plan to play a spy against Wilson, it could be versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu or even hyperactive rookie playmaker Budda Baker.


–Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson vs. Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner. Wagner has been dealing with a hamstring problem and Peterson may be less than 100 percent coming off 37 carries (159 yards) just last Sunday. But these are two warriors who will be riled by the challenge presented. Peterson showed he is still very capable of breaking off big runs and if he meets Wagner in open space, it will be interesting to say the least.

–Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson. Baldwin is Seattle’s top receiver and will draw occasional coverage from Peterson in man-to-man situations. Baldwin managed 100-yard receiving games in three of Seattle’s last five meetings against Arizona
–Cardinals RT Jared Veldheer vs. Seahawks LDE Michael Bennett. Veldheer has blocked much better after a seriously poor start to the season, but must be on his “A” game to handle Bennett, even if Bennett is nursing a heel injury and was out of practice early this week. Bennett has 6.5 sacks and has the bull-rushing moves that made Veldheer prone to giving up quarterback pressures and hits.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seahawks DE Dion Jordan. Jordan hasn’t played in a regular-season game in nearly three seasons, but he could make his debut for the Seahawks Thursday night. The former No. 3 overall pick of the Miami Dolphins has missed the last two seasons due to suspensions and injuries.

FAST FACTS: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson passed for 350 yards, 4 TDs and no INTs for 117.8 rating in last meeting. He has 8 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 110.6 rating in past 4 at Az. WR Doug Baldwin led Seahawks with 7 catches for 108 yards and TD Sunday and has 38 catches for 533 yards (106.6 per game), 2 TDs in past 5 meetings. DE Michael Bennett had sack in last meeting and aims for 5th in row vs. division with sack. In 12 career meetings, CB Richard Sherman collected 7 INTs, incl. 19-yard INT-TD, 18 PD and a FR. S Kam Chancellor totaled 24 tackles (in past 2 meetings.DE Dwight Freeney has 3 sacks in two games with Seattle … Cardinals QB Drew Stanton passed for 201 yards & 2 TDs last week and threw 6 TDs vs. 2 INTs in past 5 starts vs. NFC West. RB Adrian Peterson is coming off 159-yard rushing performance Sunday and in 4 career Thursday games, has 354 yards rushing and 4 TDs. WR Larry Fitzgerald led team with 70 yards receiving last week and has 14,953 yards receiving in his career and surpassed HOFer Tim Brown (14,934) to move up to 6th all-time. LB Chandler Jones ranks 4th in NFL with 9 sacks and leads league with 14 TFL. In 3 career meetings, has 4.5 sacks & 2 FFs. S Tyrann Mathieu has 16 tackles and sack in past 2 home games. S Tyvon Branch leads NFL safeties with 66 tackles.

PREDICTION: Both teams have athletic defenders with evil intent. It’s unclear if Arizona’s top offensive playmakers — Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald — can overcome their age on a short week. This is one of those matchups that the Cardinals take personally after a series of frustrating games at home against the Seahawks, who are probably favored again — elsewhere.

OUR PICK: Cardinals, 27-21

–Frank Cooney