After what seemed like a ten-year break from watching the Seahawks, the squad will be back on the field Sunday night in Primetime - hosting the division rival Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have a two game lead on the Seahawks in the NFC West and the outcome of Sunday night will be critical. Without further ado, let's dive in.
The Pass Rush
The Cardinals' offense is notorious for taking deep shots. Carson Palmer has the arm strength, John Brown has the speed, and the two have the connection. If the Seahawks' defense is going to contain the Cardinals' offense, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and the rest of that defensive line is going to have to be disruptive early and often. They cannot give the Cardinals the time to take deep shots -- it just cannot happen. If Seattle can get to the quarterback and rack up the sacks, Seattle's defense will dominate.
Additionally, the run game has to be stopped. Chris Johnson has been a surprise this season for Arizona - and they've even considered extending him in contract negotiations. Seattle can't let CJ2K show old glimpses of himself - or they could be in trouble.
Per Brian Nemhauser, "Arizona has allowed two teams to rush for 110 yards or more. Lost both. Seahawks haven't rushed for less than 110 this year." One key to this game is Marshawn Lynch. If Seattle can get Lynch going (or Thomas Rawls!), it will provide the fuel to complete drives. I'd like to see Russell Wilson keep a few more too in the read option. Russell currently has zero rushing touchdowns - and I believe this is a large part of the Seahawks' inefficient red zone offense.
Get. The. Run. Game. Going.
The Seahawks must win the turnover battle. Whether it's fumble recoveries, interceptions, whatever -- Seattle needs to win it. Russell needs to protect the ball, Patrick Lewis needs to give him accurate snaps, and Marshawn Lynch needs to secure the ball. The Cardinals' defense has a nasty secondary and will be waiting to pounce on any mistakes or lapses in judgment.