The Week 11 NFL schedule is highlighted by an NFC West showdown between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. While these teams are far apart in the standings, they tend to play close and competitive games. Both games between them last season were decided by a touchdown or less, including one game that the Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime.
For this week’s game, the Cardinals are listed as 2.5-point favorites on the road. The game also has an over/under of 48 points.
On the Line
The Seahawks are slowly but surely running out of time to make a playoff push. After last week’s 17-0 loss to the Packers, they are just 3-6 with losses in four of their last five games. That means Seattle is last in the NFC West, although they are still only 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the NFC.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are tied with the Packers for the best record in the NFC at 8-2 despite losing last week and losing their head-to-head game with Green Bay. After a 7-0 start, Arizona has dropped two of three games, in part because Kyler Murray has missed the last two games. On the bright side, the Cardinals remain a game ahead of the Rams atop the NFC West standings.
Return of the King
While it’s not yet official, Murray is trending toward returning from his ankle injury this week, which would be a huge boost for the Arizona offense. The Cardinals managed to beat the 49ers without Murray, but they were abysmal last week without him in a loss to Carolina. But even if Murray returns, the Cardinals are still battling injuries on the offensive side of the ball with Chase Edmonds out and DeAndre Hopkins questionable, so it’ll be vital that Murray returns.
To be fair, the Arizona defense is one of the best in the NFL despite some injury concerns on that side of the ball as well. Even in last week’s loss, the Cardinals weren’t that bad defensively, holding the Panthers to four field goals while getting hurt by a pair of Arizona turnovers. The Arizona defense has held teams to 20 points or less in all seven of the team’s wins, so the Cards are more than capable of bouncing back on that side of the ball.
Return from Rock Bottom
Even with Russell Wilson returning from injury last week, things didn’t get any better for the Seattle offense. The Seahawks were held scoreless last week for the first time since before they drafted Wilson. In addition to lingering concerns about whether Wilson’s injury is fully healed, the Seahawks are still struggling to keep Wilson protected behind a leaky offensive line and generate a more consistent rushing attack.
The silver lining is that the Seattle defense has cooperated in recent weeks, allowing just 37 total points in the team’s last three games. In fact, the Seahawks are only allowing 17.8 points per game over their last six games. Even without a scary pass rush or a large number of takeaways, the Seattle defense has been able to get stops when it needs to and give the Seahawks a fighting chance in games.
Even though Murray is trending toward playing this week, there is a lot of uncertainty with him and the Arizona offense after he missed the last two games. Going to Seattle is still tough for visiting teams, especially with the Seahawks playing well defensively in recent weeks. Obviously, the Seahawks have plenty of flaws as well, but in a state of desperation, look for the Seahawks to find a way to beat the Cardinals on Sunday.