Sunday the Seattle Seahawks will wrap up their 2018 regular season with their Week 17 home game against the Arizona Cardinals. While the game will have no impact on either team’s ability to make the playoffs, with the Cardinals having been eliminated weeks ago and the Seahawks owning one of the two NFC Wild Card berths, it will serve as a tune up for the Hawks as they prepare for the postseason.
For the Cardinals, a loss would decrease the likelihood of having the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, a position they currently hold due to having the worst record in the entire NFL. Not really all that noteworthy, but it is interesting to consider that the only teams the Cards have defeated in the course of amassing their 3-11 record are the San Francisco 49ers (twice) and the Green Bay Packers.
In any case, the Seahawks injury report for the game looks very good compared to how it looked heading into the Week 16 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Hawks should be at close to full strength.
Germain Ifedi appears set to start at right tackle after having missed the game against Kansas City, and D.J. Fluker is once again listed as questionable. Fluker played the majority of the game against the Chiefs after J.R. Sweezy went down with a foot injury that is likely to keep him out again this week, so guard will certainly be a position worth watching. It would not be a surprise for the team to keep eight offensive linemen active for the game, just as they did last week, which is one more than usual.
On the defensive side Dion Jordan, Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson are all listed as questionable, and even if they play, are likely to see their time limited in order to ensure their health for the postseason.
For Arizona, their injury report is pretty empty, with only three players on it. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is out with a shoulder injury, and defensive ends Markus Golden and Benson Mayowa are both listed as questionable. That said, the reason their injury report is so empty is largely because huge portions of the team is already on injured reserve. The Cardinals have 17 players on IR (Seattle has nine players on IR, including only two starters. Unless you also want to count Mychal Kendricks as a starter, in which case they have three starters on IR).
Of those 17 players on IR, some of them are
- Former first round pick Robert Nkemdiche (who as a first round pick has 4.5 sacks and 44 tackles in his first three seasons),
- Starting middle linebacker Josh Bynes, who was second on the team in tackles until being injured in Week 12,
- Six different offensive linemen who have started a game for the Cardinals this season (Jeremy Vujnovich, Korey Cunningham, Justin Pugh, Mike Iupati, John Wetzel and D.J. Humphries) and a seventh (A.Q. Shipley) who was slated to be the starting center before being injured in training camp,
- Christian Kirk, who was leading the team in receiving yards and was second in receptions and receiving touchdowns before breaking his foot in Week 13 and
- starting kicker Phil Dawson, who will turn 44 next month.
So, hopefully the Seahawks won’t have too much trouble at home with the Cardinals, even if they rest their starters because a good number of Arizona starters are already missing.
In any case, Frank Clark has one more regular season game this season to try and improve his market value. In addition, while it would take a Herculean effort to tie or break the franchise single season record for sacks, if there was ever an opponent against which Clark might be able to set the single game record for sacks (4.0 is the current record, which five different Seahawks have accomplished, most recently Chris Clemons against Green Bay in 2012) and tie or break Michael Sinclair’s single season record of 16.5 set in 1998, it would seem to be this Cardinals team.
Reduced to starting their third string left tackle and their fourth string right tackle in Week 17, Clark would have to have an outstanding day to set either record, but with an opportunity to face off against two tackles who were signed by the Cardinals within the last month, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility.