Game Preview: Seahawks-Cardinals

For the (3-5) Seattle Seahawks, it's do or die time against the (5-3) Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. A win keeps their playoff hopes alive, while a loss would trigger a seven-game slog towards a second straight disappointing season. Brandon Mebane (left) could be the difference.

Seattle Seahawks (3-5) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)

Time & Place:
Sunday, November 15, 2009
1:15pm PT
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona

Regular season series: Sunday will be the 22nd Seahawks-Cardinals game, with Arizona holding a 12-9 edge in the all-time series. The Seahawks have won 8 of the 15 meetings with the Cardinals since joining the NFC West in 2002, but are still seeking their first win in University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2006.

Notable Newcomers

Arizona
Anthony Becht, TE (UFA, St. Louis)
Jeremy Bridges, G (UFA, Carolina)
Domonique Byrd, TE (UFA, St. Louis)
Dan Kreider, FB (UFA, St. Louis)
Mike Leach, LS (UFA, Denver)
Bryant McFadden, CB (UFA, Pittsburgh)
Jason Wright, RB (UFA, Cleveland)

Seattle
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR (UFA, Cincinnati)
Colin Cole, DT (UFA, Green Bay)
John Owens, TE (UFA, Detroit)
Ken Lucas, CB (UFA, Carolina)
Lawyer Milloy, S (UFA, Atlanta)
Cory Redding, DE (Trade, Detroit)

2009 Draft Class

Arizona
Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State (1st round, 31st overall)
*Cody Brown, LB, UCONN (2nd round, 63rd overall)
Rashad Johnson, S, Alabama (3rd round, 95th overall)
Greg Toler, CB, St. Paul's (4th round, 131st overall)
Herman Johnson, T, LSU (5th round, 167th overall)
Will Davis, LB, Illinois (6th round, 204th overall)
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Pittsburgh (7th round, 240th overall)
**Trevor Canfield, G, Cincinnati (7th round, 254th overall)

Seattle
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest (1st round, 4th overall)
Max Unger, C/G, Oregon (2nd round, 49th overall)
Deon Butler, WR, Penn State (3rd round, 91st overall)
Mike Teel, QB, Rutgers (6th round, 178th overall)
***Courtney Greene, S, Rutgers (7th round, 245th overall)
Nick Reed, DE, Oregon (7th round, 247th overall)
Cameron Morrah, TE, California (7th round, 248th overall)
*-Injured reserve
**-Practice squad
***-Waived

Stats & Rankings

Arizona

Offense
Total: 14th (341.9 yards per game)
Passing: 8th (262.4 yards per game)
Rushing: 31st (79.5 yards per game)
Scoring: 12th (24.8 points per game)

Defense
Total: 21st (339.8 yards per game)
Passing: 27th (246.6 yards per game)
Rushing: 4th (93.1 yards per game)
Scoring: 12th (20.5 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: 26th (-6)

Seattle 

Offense
Total: 22nd (320.8 yards per game)
Passing: 13th (236.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 30th (84.5 yards per game)
Scoring: 18th (20.9 points per game)

Defense
Total: 14th (322.5 yards per game)
Passing: 17th (219.6 yards per game)
Rushing: t-11th (102.9 yards per game)
Scoring: 14th (20.9 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: t-17th (0)

Injury Report

Seattle

Probable: QB Matt Hasselbeck (right shoulder), T Sean Locklear (ankle), CB Ken Lucas (neck), C Chris Spencer (thumb)

Arizona

Doubtful: LB Gerald Hayes (back), LB Chike Okeafor (back)
Questionable: TE Ben Patrick (knee), T Mike Gandy (pelvis), DE Kenny Iwebema (knee), WR Sean Morey (head),
Probable: WR Anquan Boldin (ankle), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (finger), S Antrel Rolle (foot), G Reggie Wells (thumb), WR Steve Breaston (knee)

TV/Radio

FOX's Dick Stockton and Charles Davis will call their fifth Seahawks game of the season, meaning this could be the week Stockton pronounces Olindo Mare's name correctly. As always, Steve Raible, Warren Moon, and Jen Mueller will call the game on 97.3FM and 710 ESPN Seattle.

Vegas Line: Cardinals -8 ½ (o/u 47)

Keys to the Game

Pressure Warner – There's no stopping Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, so the Seahawks best chance to slow down the Cardinals' offense is to hit and harass Kurt Warner as much as possible, and by any means possible. Sunday would be an ideal time for Brandon Mebane to have a break-out game. Quarterbacks generally don't handle pressure up the middle well, and Warner is no exception. Mebane could play a big role in disrupting Warner's rhythm.

Protect Hasselbeck – Seattle's 30th-ranked run offense probably won't go very far against Arizona's 4th-ranked run defense, so the onus will be on Hasselbeck and the receivers to move the sticks and put points on the board. The Cardinals' pass rush did a number on the Seahawks' offensive line last month, sacking Hasselbeck five times and hitting him nine times, but the Seahawks get Sean Locklear back this week, and their overall depth on the line is the best it's been since August. Injuries on the other side could help the ‘Hawks, as Cardinals linebacker Chike Okeafor, whose tied for the team lead in sacks (3 ½), has a back injury and isn't expected to play on Sunday.

Show Up – Over the last three weeks, opponents have outscored the Seahawks 55-26 in the first half, so it's important that the Seahawks—all of the Seahawks—be ready to play at 1:14pm on Sunday. Just because they proved they could come from behind after spotting an opponent a 17-point lead last week, doesn't mean they have to repeat it this week. Or ever again.

NorthwestFootball.net Prediction

Seattle is healthier than they've been since the summer, and as long as they have Matt Hasselbeck, they have a chance to beat any opponent. I do expect this game to be much closer than the first meeting was, but since the Seahawks haven't beaten a quality opponent on the road in years, it's hard to expect them to get it done on Sunday.

Pick: Cardinals 31, Seahawks 16

In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.

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