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Seahawks vs Cardinals game preview: Should the Seahawks fear a Michael Wilson breakout?

Seattle is heavily favored against Arizona, but there’s a rookie receiver emerging down in the desert.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks enter Week 7 off of the heels of a 17-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was an extremely weird game seeing as Seattle had 9 more first downs, 167 more total yards, averaged 2.1 more yards per pass and ran 17 more plays. On top of that Seattle’s final two possessions ended on fourth down stops at the Cincy 6- and 9- yard line.

All in all it is a game Seattle should have won but the burn of that loss gets numbed a bit as the Seahwks get to take on the Arizona Cardinals this week. Arizona is a talent deficient roster that is just 1-5 and missing multiple key players including James Conner, Budda Baker and Kyler Murray due to injury. Due to the Cards’ struggles and their mounting injury list as well as the fact the game is in Seattle, Pete Carroll’s men are a 7.5 point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook. Despite the offensive woes of Arizona, DraftKings also has this being a high scoring affair with an over/under of 44.5 which is tied for the third highest mark of week 7.

Arizona Cardinals

Michael Wilson vs the Seahawks secondary

Despite his uninspiring looking stat line of 317 yards and two touchdowns (76 yards and both touchdowns came in Week 4) through the first six weeks of the season, Wilson is a rookie who has shown a lot of promise.

Yards per target of course is not an all-encompassing stat, but it does show the impact that Wilson is able to make when Joshua Dobbs looks his way. Wilson has struggled in his last two games combining for 80 receiving yards on four catches and six targets. However, his skill set, especially across from a dangerous receiver in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, makes him a legit weapon. He is a receiver who can make an impact in the short to intermediate part of the field, but a lot of his damage is going to be done down the field. When you combine that with the fact that Seattle has had a tendency to give up big plays and almost all of Wilson’s production has come against zone this year, he could be in for a big day Sunday.

Joshua Dobbs’ legs vs the front 7

Dobbs quietly has been one of the most dangerous running quarterbacks; this season. He is 5th among all quarterbacks in rushing yards with 189 and his 5.6 yards per attempt is third among quarterbacks with 20 or more rushing attempts. Now Dobbs is not a true mobile threat like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts to where defenses have to game plan for his legs. However, he is the type of quarterback who can take advantage of a defense’s lack of discipline, especially on third down. Something that is highlighted by the fact that 14 of his rush attempts this year have gone for first downs.

I do not think that Clint Hurtt is going to deploy a QB spy on Dobbs often on Sunday. Because of that, it is going to be imperative for the front four to stay within their rushing lanes and then for the linebackers to read and react as he goes out of the pocket. If Dobbs is able to extend a drive or two with his legs, it could very well be the difference in Sunday’s game.

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks pass rush vs the Cardinals offensive line

After a low start, the Seahawks pass rush has been one of the best and most well rounded attacks this season. They are tied for 6th in the NFL this season with 19 sacks, despite the fact that they have already had their bye week, and, Seattle’s sack production is not predicated on one or two players as six different Seahawks have two or more sacks this season. Boye Mafe and Jarran Reed are tied for the team lead with 3 apiece, but it is still safe to say that Uchenna Nwosu is the best pass rusher on Seattle. Nwosu is still displaying a full complement of pass rushing moves as shown in both tweets. In the first one we can see Nwosu hits left tackle Cody Ford with a quick stutter move before bouncing inside and getting the QB hit. On the second play, Nwosu hits the Giants left tackle with a quick swipe move which allows him to gain the edge and pick up the sack.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba vs the Arizona secondary

Slowly but surely we are starting to see Jaxon Smith Njigba get more and more integrated with the down field passing attack of Shane Waldron’s offense.

As shown in our own Mookie Alexander’s tweet, Seattle has largely used JSN on quick outs and slants in the early going of the season. The usage is slightly understandable as the rookie receiver is fantastic at creating separation on quick hitting routes. However, using him on quick outs is almost a waste of his talents as he is someone who can also threaten a defense deep. It is encouraging to see his average depth of target increase significantly over the prior two games (including a career-best 4 catches for 48 yards against the Bengals) which is a sign that come Sunday we might see a designed deep shot or two to the former Ohio State Buckeye. If the Seahawks are able to get him unlocked vertically against the Cardinals, it will add an entirely new dimension to this passing attack.