USA: Sunday, October 23, 2016, 8.30pm ET, University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona
Australia: Monday, October 23, 2016, 11.30am AEDST
2016/17 record and week six results:
Arizonia Cardinals (3-3)
Arizona Cardinals 28 defeated New York Jets 3
Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Seattle Seahawks 26 defeated Atlanta Falcons 24
Arizona Cardinals: ($1.86 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Seattle Seahawks: ($1.99 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Arizona Cardinals: +1.0 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Seattle Seahawks: -1.0 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
It is a battle of the birds in the NFL on Sunday night as the Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks.
Both teams bring terrific form into the game and will be looking to carry on their winning ways after they both recorded strong victories against quality opposition in week six.
The Seahawks are looking to extend an unbeaten run at the Cardinals home ground that will become a quartet of victories if they can win on Sunday night.
The key for the Cards will be shutting down the running game – an element that they have struggled to achieve in the past.
In their three losses against Seattle, Arizona were absolutely torched by Marshawn Lynch who has since retired, but defensive coordinator James Bettcher said the team will not be taking the Seahawk runners for granted on Sunday.
“We know how many yards they’ve rushed for in each of those three wins when they’ve come up here,” Bettcher said.
“It’s a point of emphasis for our guys. We know we got to get [them] down in the run game.”
It will be a much different running game to the one the Cardinals have seen over the years at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Lynch is retired, Russell Wilson’s rushing yards are down and number one running back Thomas Rawls is out after breaking his leg.
Even though Arizona will be facing a new-look Seattle running game, the Cardinals’ defensive tackle Frostee Rucker said the rushing game of the Seahawks needs to be respected.
“You got quicker guys playing running back now, and I use that lightly because they had ‘Beast Mode’ (Lynch) before and he was a harder running,” Rucker said.
“He still ran fast and was still very effective and elite, but these guys now that they got, sometimes when ‘Beast Mode’ would cut it back and try to take it inside, these guys would keep it outside.
“The run the traditional offense that they always ran, but these guys take the ball elsewhere, so we’ve got to be very, very, very gap-sound this week and it shouldn’t be an issue.”
An on-fire Seattle Seahawks team looking to continue their winning form travels to Phoenix to face a Cardinals team which has dropped just one game this season.
After an average start to the season the Cardinals have turned their fortunes around to get square the win loss ratio at 3-3, a fact that has buoyed the spirts of coach Bruce Arians.
“We’ve been playing better. Each season is a new year,” Arians said.
“We did not play well in September, surprising to me, but we did play very well the last two weeks, and hopefully we can continue that.”
The Cardinals bring a sensational offense to the table in 2016 on the back of evergreen performances from Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer.
Fitzgerald in particular has been sensational, averaging over 70 yards a game whilst scoring five touchdowns across the six games his team has played.
The Seahawks’ secondary will be put to the test.
The form line of the fixture is one of the more perplexing ones you will see.
The Cardinals have won four of the past five meetings, but the Seahawks have a three-game winning streak at the University of Phoenix Stadium, including a 36-6 victory in Week 17 last season after Arizona had already secured the division and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Both teams need to keep their winning run going and while the Cardinals have been better in recent weeks the Seahawks are looking like Super Bowl threats. Russell Wilson is starting to get himself close to full fitness while Jimmy Graham is returning to something similar to his New Orleans glory days.
For a team that is currently ranked 20th in the NFL for points on average it is incredible that they are 4-1 this season and something that spells trouble for the rest of the competition given the scope for improvement.
We are favouring the Seahawks to topple the Cardinals and keep their unbeaten run at the Univeristy of Phoenix stadium alive.
Match prediction: Seattle Seahawks to win ($1.98 at Sportsbet.com.au)
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