No team in the NFC has gotten off to a better start in 2013 than the Seattle Seahawks. In Week Seven, they will get a chance to be the first team in the conference to get their sixth win when they visit the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks have a two-game lead on Arizona in the NFC West. The Cardinals are tied for last place, and are playing in what has been the most competitive division in the NFL. They are 3-3 on the year, but lost to both the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers in their only divisional matchups.
The Seahawks enter the contest as a considerable favorite, but they have had some recent troubles in Arizona. The Cardinals have won two straight against the Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Arizona was able to beat Seattle in back-to-back years by keeping their offense in check. Marshawn Lynch didn’t top 85 yards in either game, while Russell Wilson threw for just 153 yards in the 2012 contest. The Cardinals, though, look much different a year later, having replaced their starting head coach and quarterback.
"They're a brand new team to us," head coach Pete Carroll told the Seahawks offical website. "There are things that look similar, but it's not the same. All kinds of stuff has changed, so we have to look at them all over again.”
One new player that won’t exactly be new to Carroll is Carson Palmer. Carroll was the head coach at USC during Palmer’s last two years in college. The quarterback won a Heisman Trophy under the Seahawks coach and was drafted No.1 overall just a few months later.
Palmer has kept the Cardinals in contention in the early going, but he has struggled with Arizona. After coming over from the Oakland Raiders in the offseason, Palmer has thrown seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. While having the second lowest passer rating of any regular NFL start, the signal caller hasn’t had time to think about his first meeting with Carroll in the pros.
“On such a short week, I’m so focused on . . . I really haven’t thought much about it,” Palmer told reporters. “I’ve been so focused about getting the new install and third down and red zone, and then all of the film that I had to get watched in such a short amount of time. I haven’t even really had much of a chance to think about it.”
Palmer should have his No.1 option available, but he might not be at full strength. Larry Fitzgerald has been battling a hamstring and will be forced to play after just three days of rest. He was a game-time decision on Sunday, but still managed to catch six passes for 117 yards.
The Seahawks may have the best collection of defensive backs in football, but that hasn’t stopped the veteran from having continued success against them. He has 107 catches and 10 touchdowns in 18 career games against Seattle.
“I don’t think that there’s a player at his position that’s better than Larry,” Carroll said. “I think he’s as good as you can get. He’s proven that. Guys can have years and have a couple runs at it, but he’s done it for a long time with his competitiveness; his amazing skill; great body; terrific speed; route running; and just the come-through way that he has about him.”
Las Vegas Betting Odds: Seattle favored by 7 points
Over-Under: 41 points
Where To Watch Online: nfl.com/tnf
Kickoff Time: 8:25 PM Eastern Time
TV Channel: NFL Network
Prediction: Seattle 23, Arizona 20