Week 16 Endgame: Blueprint for victory – Cardinals vs. Seahawks

Seahawks keys to success

After two weeks on the road the Seahawks travel back to Seattle to play their final two games of the season in front of the 12th man.  If the Seahawks win either game they will win their division and the number one seed in the NFC for the playoffs.

The Seahawks will look to wrap it up in time for Christmas.

It is easy to go into this Sunday’s game with a lot of confidence after beating the Cardinals 34-22 in Arizona earlier in the season.  They are not going to roll over and play dead, Arizona is going to fight the entire way.

If the Seahawks hope to win on Sunday they are going to have to earn it.

Russell Okung Seahawks

Russell Okung will be front and center on Sunday. (Photo: Washington Post)

During the last meeting the Cardinals front seven pounded Russell Wilson.  They turned that pressure into 9 quarterback hits with 3 sacks.  Wilson fumbled the ball 3 times during that game (losing two of them) both of which were career highs.

Seattle O-Line

Last week right guard JR Sweezy suffered a concussion that wasn’t diagnosed until after Wednesday’s practice.  As a result of said concussion he will be unable to play this Sunday, but don’t let that worry you too much about the offensive line.

Sure, it would be nice if the Seahawks offensive line could go into the game at full strength.  Even without Sweezy they are in much better shape than they were last time these two teams played.

In the first meeting the Seahawks were without both starting tackles.  Paul McQuistan started at left tackle in place of Pro-Bowl tackle Russell Okung, I expect Paul to fill in at right guard for JR Sweezy this week even though head coach Pete Carroll won’t let on who’s playing.

Rookie Michael Bowie started at right tackle for Breno Giacomini.  You may remember that it was Bowie missing a block that led to Wilson fumbling the ball at the Cardinals 3.

This week the Seahawks must do a better job of protecting their quarterback.

The offensive line will also need to be at the top of their game to open up running lanes for Marshawn Lynch and company.  Arizona has the NFL‘s best rushing defense.  They only give up 83 yards per game.

During the first meeting the Seahawks rushed for 135 yards, 91 of which came from Marshawn.

Seattle D

When the Cardinals have the ball the Seahawks defense must pressure Arizona’s quarterback Carson Palmer.  If they let him stay comfortable in the pocket he has the ability to pick apart any defense, even the Legion of Boom.

Penalties are the Seattle Seahawks’ major weakness.  They just don’t play disciplined football.  Some flags are okay but the Seahawks must minimize stupid, costly, mistakes. ie. false starts and offsides (both always seem to come in at the worst possible moment.

For the second time in three weeks the Seahawks face a divisional opponent who has their backs against the wall in a must win situation.  This time they will have the 12th man to help motivate them to clinch the division title and the NFC’s top seed in the playoffs.

The Seahawks must find a way to use the crowd noise to help them match the intensity that the Cardinals are going to bring to CenturyLink Field.

You may have noticed a common theme to this piece.  The game boils down to the trenches.  Whichever group plays better will come out victorious on Sunday.

I don’t think this game is going to be the 58-0 blowout that we saw the last time these two teams played a game in Seattle, however I do expect the Seahawks to come out with a victory.  Hawks win 24-17.

Go Seahawks!

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About Brett Bivens

Born and raised in Spokane. Moved to Seattle in 2006. A Seahawks fan since he can remember, Seahawks season ticket holder for 5 years!. He blogs, tweets and bleeds blue and green. 12th Man For Life! Connect with Brett today!
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