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5 Qs, 5 As: Beak Week a bird battle to stay out of NFC West cellar

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Week 6 of the 2022 NFL season has arrived, and for the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals it’s a matchup with both teams looking for a win to keep pace in the NFC West. Not only that, though, as the loser of this matchup has a very real chance to find itself all alone in last place in the division, as the Los Angeles Rams will be hosting the Carolina Panthers in what should be a very winnable game for the Rams. That said, there are no guarantees on how things play out in the NFL, which is why they play the games, but no team in the division has looked like a complete team so far this season.

To preview this Seahawks-Cardinals matchup, Field Gulls is joined by Seth Cox of Revenge of the Birds to preview the first installment of Beak Week of the 2022 season.

1. In a significant contrast to the Seahawks situation this offseason, the Cardinals extended quarterback Kyler Murray and the offense has struggled to truly get going so far this season. What has been the biggest issue or issues, and in particular why has the team struggled with very slow starts?

They’ve been really slow to get going and a lot of it seems self-inflicted. Missed blocks, penalties, drops and missed throws.

Timing seems off early and like there is no urgency and that stems from both Kyler and then Kliff Kingsbury. When they get a little fire under them both seem to play a little better and with more energy. It’s been a bit disheartening but also seems like there is no real concern from within. I guess we will see if that is good or bad, but from the fan’s perspective of things, it’s been mildly infuriating. What fixes it? No idea as of now but hopefully it is on the horizon.

2. The Cardinals finished 11th in points allowed in 2021, but the defense is struggling so far this season. Outside of Chandler Jones leaving in free agency, what has led to the decline in performance?

The defense has improved week to week but still feels like when they need a big stop, they lack that playmaker up front right now.

Look at last week, the Arizona Cardinals come back from a big deficit, tie it up, then their defense allows a 17-play field goal drive that had one pass completed. How do you allow that to happen as a team? You have to get off the field when you have momentum. You cannot let that happen if you are a good defense.

They have done a nice job against teams biggest name threat. Davante Adams had two catches for 12 yards, Cooper Kupp had four catches for 44 yards and A.J. Brown had three catches for 32 yards.

So, maybe they can handle one of the great Seattle Seahawks receivers, don’t know if they can do both though.

3. The NFC West so far this season is basically a train wreck top to bottom. The 49ers spent all offseason trying to trade Jimmy Garoppolo and now he’s the guy. The only team the Seahawks held under 20 points per game is a team that is next to last in the league in scoring and averaging just 15 points per game. The Rams have looked more like the Jeff Fisher era Rams than the teams of the Sean McVay era so far. With that in mind, how competitive will the Cardinals be once DeAndre Hopkins is back and Murray has more offensive weapons at his disposal?

I feel like if they are 3-3 after this week and get Hopkins back they have a shot to compete in the division. 2-4 seems like a real uphill battle to be anything other than a potential Wild Card team.

Not sure what to make of this division as of now, but it does feel like the loser of this game will have a hard time competing to win the division.

4. Kliff Kingsbury was under .500 during his time at Texas Tech, and now on the heels of a playoff appearance in 2021 is his job secure if the Cardinals struggle through the rest of this season?

Barring a complete disaster of a season, Kliff just got a contract extension and won’t have to be on the hot seat this year.

That being said, I always answer this question with a question for Cardinals fans. Who are you getting that you know will be better than Kliff?

Think about the last couple of hiring cycles for the team:

2013 - Hire Bruce Arians last is all coaches hired. Their first choices were Andy Reid (who used them as contract leverage) and Mike McCoy. They lucked out that Arians worked out, but then he left them high and dry.

2018 - The team wants to interview Mike Munchak and he says… nah. Matt Patricia, Pat Shurmur both signed with “better” options, and Josh McDaniels wouldn’t come here.

2019 - Team offers Mike McCarthy full control of the team and he says no. Eric Bienemy turns them down for an interview. They panic and hire Kliff to make sure they get an offensive guy.

I’d say Kliff has done more than most expected being a near .500 coach thus far (a win on Sunday gets him back there).

It just seems like it would be tough to move on from a guy who is average for someone who would likely be their third or fourth best option. I would have liked Brian Daboll, and maybe a guy like Ken Dorsey could be the guy. But would either come here (I know Daboll is in New York just a rhetorical)?

5. Arizona is currently a 2.5 point favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook. What’s your prediction for the game?

I feel like this is a game where they emphasize a fast start and get out to one and we get a shootout.

I’m going Cardinals win 38-31 and it is a fun game with both quarterbacks putting on a show.

Good luck and good health to the Seahawks.

And now it’s on to the game, where there should be plenty of scoring and minimal defense, unlike some games between these two teams in the past. In addition, the loser of this game will come out of the game 0-2 against division opponents, while the Rams and the winner of the game will be 1-1, meaning the loser is guaranteed to be in last place in the NFC West. The only other alternative would be if the two teams were to tie.