It’s a huge Thursday Night Football matchup today as the Arizona Cardinals, fresh off their stunning win on Sunday, take on the free-falling Seattle Seahawks (8.20pm ET: TV: Live on Fox).
The winner will take over control of the NFC West, which has easily been the NFL’s best division this year. As it stands today, three of the division’s four teams are all sitting on matching 6-3 records. That will change come late tonight as either the Cardinals or Seahawks, at 7-3, will take sole possession of first place in the NFC West.
Stay with us at USAbetting for a full preview with Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks predictions and culminating with our betting picks for this NFL game.
What is Happening in Seattle?
It was week six of the NFL season and the Seahawks were on their bye week following a start to the year that saw the team win each of their first five games. Then undefeated, Seattle ended their bye with all the confidence in the world and riding their MVP-caliber quarterback Russell Wilson, who was playing as well as he ever had.
Then week seven happened and Seattle took on one of their NFC West opponents for the first time. It was the longest such start to the season for any team without having to play a divisional game. As anyone knows, those are normally the hardest games a team will play due to a variety of factors. Sure enough, the first clash of the Seahawks and Cardinals did not disappoint as the two teams battled to a finish that ultimately ended in an overtime win for Arizona. The game was an absolute shootout, with both Wilson and Arizona’s Kylee Murray surpassing well over 300 passing yards and each with three touchdowns. In the end though, it came down to field goal kicker Zane Gonzalez, who hit the game-tying kick as time expired in the fourth quarter and ultimately won the game for Arizona with his kick in overtime.
It wasn’t a bad loss by any means for Seattle but it did begin to expose a few things that would resurface as recurring problems for the team. The largest takeaway was Wilson wasn’t perfect. He threw three interceptions, including a killer on Seattle’s final drive in regulation. Following a touchdown taken off the board due to offensive holding, one that would have sealed the game for the Seahawks, Wilson tossed a pass short, giving Arizona the ball back with a chance to tie the game. The Cardinals had a short field and Murray only had to pick up some chunk yardage, which he did, in what it has since turned out will only be the second greatest comeback for Murray and Arizona this year.
Thus began the free fall in Seattle. The Seahawks lost three of their next four, including each of their last two. Granted, Seattle faced two tough opponents in the LA Rams and Buffalo Bills, but neither game was particularly close. The Seahawks’ defense, which had been porous all year long, has started to break down even further, exposed by the fact that Wilson’s MVP run has come crashing back down to Earth. After starting the year with an insane touchdown to interception ratio of 19-3, in his last four games, Wilson has thrown just nine touchdowns to a whopping seven interceptions. He still leads the league in scores with 28 but is now also among the NFL’s leaders in turnovers with 10.
The Seahawks looked unstoppable early on, but many saw their success as unsustainable. They recognized the flaws behind Wilson and knew that if he was anything but godlike, Seattle would struggle. Such has been the case. At 6-3, the Seahawks are still very much in the race for a playoff spot even if they weren’t to win the division. However, a win today can put to bed some of the concerns surrounding Seattle. Plus, it would help bolster the Seahawks’ chances to win back the NFC West.
Kingsbury, Kyler & League’s Leading Offense
It is called the air raid and no one has been as proficient in running it this year as Kliff Kingsbury, head coach of the Cardinals, and Kylee Murray, the team’s young QB phenom. Kingsbury’s offense, one he ran in college as head coach of Texas Tech, didn’t catch on right away but in 2020, the coach found himself with the right pieces to make it work. One of these such pieces is DeAndre Hopkins, who the Cardinals traded a slew of draft picks for in the offseason. Hopkins was formerly with the Houston Texans, where he had established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the game due to his size and speed.
Thanks to guys like Hopkins, Murray and the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald, Kingsbury’s air raid offense leads the league in several categories including yards per game (over 425). However, the air raid isn’t the only reason for this as the Cardinals, thanks largely to Murray, lead the NFL in rushing yards per game and total rushing yards on the season. Much like Wilson was in his early career, Murray is emerging as a quarterback who can and has done it all this year. He is completing passes at a rate over 68 percent, which is incredible, and has added over 600 rushing yards to his nearly 2,400 passing yards.
Then there is Hopkins: The veteran wide receiver has been a godsend to Murray as he has given the second year QB a fantastic target. Hopkins is second in the NFL in receiving yards with over 860 and is among the top of all pass catchers in first downs, yards after catch, targets and receptions. For fans of the Texans, none of this is surprising. Hopkins has long been one of the NFL’s best and is showing that in year eight of his career, he still possesses the skillset that has made him a human highlight reel. In a huge game last week against the Bills, Hopkins added to that reel when he made the greatest catch of his career. Over three defenders, Hopkins reeled in a Hail Mary pass from Murray in the most improbable fashion, to lead the Cardinals to a miracle win.
Arizona has been that kind of team this year. They have surprised just about everyone with how good they’ve been and how much success they’ve had. The Cardinals have scored at least 30 points in each of their last five games, as the offense has been rolling. They will look to continue this run of high scoring affairs when they take on the Seahawks, a team also capable of putting up big numbers with Wilson and fellow top receiver, DK Metcalf. Both of these teams have reason to believe they can win and both have the pieces to get it done as well.
Our Preview’s Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks Predictions & Betting Picks Recommendations
This game, much like the last time these teams met, could well come down to the wire. It is always tough to beat the same team twice, especially when that team is at home. Buoyed by the 12th Man, look for the Seahawks to get back in the win column here and that is the first of our picks. So these are the Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks’ predictions and picks for this preview:
- The spread currently favors the Seahawks by three and we like the cover here. So bet Seattle -3pts @ best odds of -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
- As for the total points, it is set at a lofty 57.5pts with most of the top sports betting websites for USA players, but that should be no problem for these two teams to surpass. Take the over in what will likely be another shoot-out between these two stellar offenses. The most attractive option is to go over 56.5pts @ -109 with Bookmaker.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.