Don’t be fooled by Seattle’s big win over the Lions. For one, the Lions have just two wins. And while Detroit has played some teams very well, they’ve also lost badly to others. And losing badly to a not very good Seahawks team is perhaps their low moment.
It’s always good to win, and for the Seahawks it was their third win in five games. But this is a last place going nowhere, except straight to a turbulent offseason. For the first time in his Seattle tenure, Pete Carroll has double-digit losses. On top of that, an unhappy Russell Wilson seems to no longer trust his coach, who no longer trusts him.
The situation in Arizona is the opposite. The Cardinals staved off their late-season swoon with a big win on the road at Dallas, and they know they will be in the postseason dance. And even though the outcome is no longer in their control, Arizona could still win the NFC West. A win against Seattle on Sunday, while at the same time a 49ers win over the Rams, and the division belongs to Arizona.
Anything less, and it’s the fifth seed as a wild card.
It has been a nightmare season in Seattle. Wilson was gone for a month, but even with him on the field the team simply has not been good. With the trio of Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf, the Seahawks rank 27th in the league in third down conversion rates.
The counting stats aren’t great either: 25th in passing yards, 45 sacks allowed, but the third down percentage tells the story. This offense, despite its stars, hasn’t been able to sustain drives. They were 7-for-12 on third down against the Lions, but that’s an aberration. When the Seahawks and Cardinals played in November, Seattle was 2-for-10 on third down.
In that game Seattle gave up four sacks, punted five times, and had possession of the football for less than 20 minutes. They managed to keep the score 23-13, but the game wasn’t nearly that close.
Arizona Cardinals (-7)
It’s worth noting that in that first matchup between the Cardinals and Seahawks, Arizona had Colt McCoy at quarterback. He was spectacular that game, throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Also coming up huge against Seattle was tight end Zack Ertz, who had eight catches for 88 yards.
This week we get Kyler Murray under center, and coming off the Cardinals first win in almost a month – a 25-22 win at Dallas, that also ended up being closer than it should have. The Cardinals dominated for most of the game, but gave up 15 points in the fourth quarter to let the Cowboys back in it.
Still, it was a huge win for a scuffling team that needed to show that it’s deserving of its place in the postseason. The confidence that winning in Dallas gives the Cardinals going forward was obvious at the end of the game.
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It is that confidence that the Cardinals regained, plus the fact that Arizona has something to play for and Seattle does not, that is the crux of this pick. Also, it’s hard to look at a 10-point win in Seattle and without Murray, and see less than a touchdown-win this time around.
Murray and the Cardinals will win their 12th game of the season, and they will COVER the seven-point spread.
The Cardinals haven’t gone over in three weeks, and at one point this season Seattle didn’t go over for nine straight games. Plus they went under in their first meeting.
Arizona wins 27-17, and this game goes UNDER.