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November 17, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Seahawks First Look: Arizona Cardinals

Here’s weekly First Look at Seattle’s upcoming opponent:

Seahawks opponent: Arizona Cardinals

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV: Fox

Coach: Bruce Arians —19-7 in two seasons with Arizona and overall (was also 9-3 as interim coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012).

2014 record: 9-1.

Last game: Beat Detroit, 14-6.

The series: 31st meeting. Arizona leads the series 16-14 and has won three of the last five, including a 17-0 victory at CenturyLink Field last Dec. 22 for what was Seattle’s only home loss of the 2013 season.

The early line: Seahawks by 6.5.

Key players: QB Drew Stanton: A 30-year-old who had just four career starts in seven previous NFL seasons, the Michigan State alum is now the team’s starting quarterback with Carson Palmer out for the season with a knee injury. Arizona is 3-1 in Staton’s four starts with wins against the Giants, 49ers and Lions and the loss at Denver.

WR Larry Fitzgerald: The 31-year-old future Hall of Famer became the second youngest player in NFL history to catch passes for 12,000 yards on Sunday, behind only Randy Moss. He suffered a sprained MCL on his left knee during the game, but coach Bruce Arians said Monday that Fitzgerald should be able to play Sunday against the Seahawks. He leads Arizona with 46 catches for 658 yards.

CB Patrick Peterson: The fourth-year player from LSU is often cited as being on a par with Richard Sherman as the best cornerback in the NFL. Peterson signed a 5-year deal worth $70 million last summer, a few months after Sherman’s four-year, $56 million deal, which had each cornerback taking to Twitter for a little (friendly?) banter. Peterson has two interceptions this season and has allowed 34 receptions on 60 targets according to Pro Football Focus.

ILB Larry Foote: The long-time Pittsburgh Steeler has revived his career at age 34 after playing just one game last season with a biceps injury. Foote, who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in May, is third on the team in tackles with 54 and given lots of credit for leading an Arizona run defense that is third in the NFL at 80.5 per game.

Arizona’s keys to success: The Cardinals are off to their best start since 1948, when they were playing in Chicago. They are also now 19-7 since the beginning of the 2013 season, tied with Seattle, indicating that their success is not a fluke. Maybe the biggest key for Arizona is a defense that brings pressure roughly 40 percent of the time, among the top five percentages in the NFL. The Cardinals have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, allowing 3.5 yards per carry, fifth-fewest in the NFL, and also a ball-hawking secondary that has 15 interceptions, keying Arizona’s plus-11 turnover margin, tied for the second-best in the NFL. Arizona has also been careful with the ball on offense, with just nine turnovers, tied for third-fewest in the NFL. However, Arizona will now have to go the rest of the season with backup QB Drew Stanton after starter Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury two weeks ago. Stanton threw two touchdowns but also two interceptions in a 14-6 win over the Lions on Sunday. The Cardinals will need Stanton to make plays, though, as they have a surprisingly tepid rushing attack, considering their record, averaging just 79.8 yards per game, 30th in the NFL.

BY THE NUMBERS

91-34 — Arizona’s fourth-quarter scoring margin this season, best in the NFL.

6 — Arizona’s current winning streak, the longest for the franchise since 1977, when they were the St. Louis Cardinals.

3.1 — Arizona’s rushing yards per carry, lsat in the NFL. Seattle is averaging 5.5 yards per rushing attempt, first in the NFL.

 

 

 

 

 

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