The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals face off in an NFC West showdown to finish off the regular season this Sunday. While Arizona has been eliminated from playoff contention, this is a must-win for Seattle to keep any playoff hopes alive. Can the Cardinals spoil it? Read on for a preview, predictions, best bets, and odds for the Seahawks vs. Cardinals game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview & Prediction
This matchup features a team playing for a potential playoff spot and a team not playing for much outside of bragging rights. Yet, that same team knocked off the Eagles last week and disrupted their playoff path, so I don’t expect them to hand this over to the Hawks.
After getting outplayed by the Steelers last week, Seattle no longer controls their own destiny as far as playoffs go. Not only do they need a win here, but they need the Packers to lose to the Bears – a team they have beaten for nine straight games. This marks the second year in a row that the Packers are deciding Seattle’s playoff hopes.
Simply put, Seattle’s defense is a problem. Last week’s 202 rushing yards against them marked the sixth straight opponent of Seattle’s to rush for 135 yards or more in a game. The secondary gave up another 274 yards in the air. The Arizona offense isn’t perfect, but it does have weapons, including James Conner, who has the sixth-highest rushing average in the league (74.2 yards per game). He has six touchdowns in his last four games, so there may be a good prop bet opportunity there.
Offensively in Seattle, they have done well in the back half of the year, as DK Metcalf and Jaxon Smith-Njigba have picked up production pretty drastically. These two and Tyler Lockett would be a big mismatch for an Arizona defense that ranks last in DVOA, EPA, and success rate. They’re also averaging the most rushing yards against them per game (143.5), and their defensive line ranks 32nd in adjusted line yards, which should open avenues for Kenneth Walker.
Here’s the bottom line: Seattle is the better team in terms of personnel. In terms of consistency, both teams are horrible. However, I expect Pete Carroll and company to come out firing with the playoffs on the line. Seattle knows they gave up a big advantage last week and won’t let it happen again. They beat Arizona by 10 in Week 7 and do something similar here. Take Seattle to cover a 2.5-point spread.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction & Best Bet: Seahawks -2.5
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Betting Odds
The spread has seen slight movement after two different performances in Week 17. The line initially opened with Seattle as 4.5-point favorites; since then, they are down to 2.5-point favorites at some sportsbooks. The over/under is 47.5 points.
Offensive tackle DJ Humphries tore his ACL in Week 17, so he won’t be playing this week. Marquise Brown was also placed on injured reserve. Two significant losses for this Cardinals offense.
Meanwhile, the injury report continues to grow in Seattle. Center Evan Brown (concussion) and tackle Abraham Lucas (knee) both exited last week’s game and did not return. Jordyn Brooks is also listed as questionable for this week.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Key Matchups
See below the key matchups and mismatches for the Seahawks vs. Cardinals game.
Arizona Run Offense vs. Seahawks Run Defense
The Seahawks’ run defense has regressed more than any unit on their team, and last week was a perfect example. Not only did they forfeit 202 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns, but the Steelers gained 132 of their rushing yards after first contact. Missed tackles have never been a glaring issue for this team, yet it was on full display last week. They’ve now allowed the third-most rushing yards of any team and are averaging 170 rushing yards against them over their last six games.
Arizona ranks eighth and ninth in rush offense EPA and DVOA, respectively. James Conner is on a four-game touchdown streak and is coming off a 128-yard performance against the Eagles. Michael Carter put up another 61 yards on the ground and a receiving touchdown for good measure last week. The Cardinals will try to use these weapons to exploit Seattle in the box.
Seattle Pass Offense vs. Arizona Pass Defense
Geno Smith and this pass offense rank 11th in EPA and success rate and 12th in DVOA. Arizona ranks 32nd in pass defense EPA and success rate and 31st in DVOA. So, there is potential for a significant mismatch in this game.
DK Metcalf has been the catalyst of this offense as of late, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba has increased production with four touchdowns this season, two of which were game-winners. Despite results and inconsistencies, the trio of Metcalf, Smith-Njigba, and Lockett is a top-five receiving room in the league. The matchup between those three and Arizona’s Jalen Thompson and Budda Baker should be entertaining.
When these two teams squared off in Week 7, Geno Smith threw for 219 yards and two passing touchdowns and recorded his second-highest passer rating of the year.