The stakes are clear for the Seahawks Sunday — beat the Cardinals and they win the NFC West and get homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
As numerous Seattle players repeated all week, those were the goals of the regular season, and the Seahawks have taken care of business well enough that they have two games left to get it done.
Sunday’s game looms as potentially tricky — Arizona is one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won six of its last seven to get to 9-5, and featuring a defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run.
On the other hand, Arizona’s list of victims in that stretch is hardly a who’s who of the NFL — Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Tennessee. Still, that’s the NFL, beating the teams you are supposed to beat to set up big games against the elite squads.
But despite Arizona’s obvious improvement in its first season under Bruce Arians, Seattle is rightly favored by 10 points in this game.
The Seahawks’ defense appears to be peaking, and while the offense could be running it better, the record speaks for itself.
Back at home after two weeks away, and with all the stakes at hand, it’s simply hard to see the Seahawks losing this one. Call it, Seattle 24, Arizona 7.