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Keys to Victory: How the Seahawks can beat the Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Prior to the 2016 season, the Arizona Cardinals were widely touted as the best team in the NFL and a Super Bowl-caliber powerhouse. The Seattle Seahawks, on the other hand, have thrived, relatively speaking, throughout the year. One week after the Seahawks clinched the NFC West with a win over the Rams, the Cardinals roll into CenturyLink Field attempting to knock off their rivals.

This is a critical matchup for Seattle because, if they win out, they will clinch the #2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Beating Arizona is the first step to attaining this goal.

Despite the Cardinals’ losing record, they always prove to be a tough matchup for the Seahawks, especially in Seattle. Carson Palmer has a career record of 2-1 in the Pacific Northwest and, although he has had his struggles in 2016, he’ll look to once again knock off the Seahawks in their own house.

Seattle has the ability to prevent this from happening. How can they do this? You’re about to find out.

Stay disciplined in coverage

In the dreadfully beautiful (or beautifully dreadful... I can’t decide...) 6-6 tie in October, Arizona had a decent amount of success moving the ball up and down the field. They just had trouble turning these possessions into points.

Palmer was under constant pressure and yet the Cardinals converted ten times on 3rd down. I expect the Seahawks’ pass rush to once again get home, but the secondary needs to be consistent and stick to their men like glue. Facing a receiving corps as dynamic (yes indeed they still deserve to be described as dynamic) as Arizona’s, the Legion of Boom needs to hold it together and play up to its collective ability.

Slow down David Johnson

I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to say that Johnson has established himself as the best back in football this year. Le’Veon Bell is right up there too, but Johnson has had an absolutely monstrous season. He racked up 171 yards in October’s matchup between these two teams.

To prevent easy third down conversions, Seattle will need to limit Johnson’s effectiveness on early downs. While it sounds simple in text, getting the job done on turf is a much different story. Johnson is closing in on a season that encompasses over 1000 yards both rushing and receiving. He is a dynamic threat.

This team can bottle him up. They’ll need to if they want to get a win on Saturday.

Take advantage of injuries

The Cardinals have been absolutely ravaged by injuries throughout both their offensive line and secondary. This one is pretty simple. The Seahawks need to take care of their business in the way that they should.

While the Arizona pass rush will be an area of focus for the team, taking advantage of such a depleted secondary is paramount. The Seattle pass rush consistently got to Palmer throughout the first matchup. Can you imagine what they’re capable of this time around?

There is no way that the Cardinals should win this game with the amount of significant injuries their players’ have experienced. The Seahawks have the ability to take advantage and get the win.

Will they? We’ll see soon enough.