An NFC West rivalry game helps to punctuate the Week 18 NFL schedule, as the Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals have won three of their last four games against the Seahawks, including a 23-13 win in Seattle earlier this season. On Sunday, the Cardinals are listed as 6.5-point home favorites, with the over/under set at 48 points.
Heading into the season finale, the Cardinals know that they will be going to the playoffs. Arizona actually has a chance to win the NFC West with a win combined with a Rams loss. However, the Cardinals will just be relieved after stopping their three-game losing streak last week.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s season will come to an end on Sunday, whether the Seahawks win or lose. This is just the third time during Pete Carroll’s tenure that the Seahawks have failed to make the playoffs. On the bright side, Seattle has won three of five games late in the season after blowing out the Lions last week.
In For a Penny
With 51 points last week, the Seahawks have scored at least 30 points in three of their last five games, as the offense seems to be rolling a little bit. The biggest reason for that is running back Rashaad Penny, who has rushed for at least 135 yards in three of his last four games, scoring five touchdowns during that stretch. If the Seahawks can keep getting that production out of their running game, Russell Wilson’s job become much easier.
Keep in mind that Seattle has a better defense than the team’s 6-10 record would suggest. Oddly enough, the Seahawks don’t have an elite pass rush and haven’t been great at creating takeaways this year. However, they are strong at linebacker and safety, allowing them to get stops and hold teams to just 21 points per game this season.
The Murray Machine
For the most part, Arizona’s offense boils down to the play of quarterback Kyler Murray. Both James Conner and Chase Edmonds are battling injuries while DeAndre Hopkins remains sidelined, putting all of the pressure on Murray. However, Murray has started to show some positive signs over the past couple of weeks after initially struggling when he returned from an injury in December.
Of course, the Cardinals might be able to lean a little on their defense, which has allowed the fifth-fewest points in the NFL this year. Granted, the Cardinals have some concerns along the defensive line, even with the potential return of J.J. Watt. However, Arizona’s secondary has plenty of talent, and the Cardinals are loaded at linebacker, especially with Markus Golden and Chandler Jones combining for over 20 sacks this season.
Keeping in mind that the Cardinals recently had a three-game losing streak, it’s hard to be confident in them covering nearly a touchdown against the Seahawks. Even with Murray starting to play better, the Arizona offense isn’t firing on all cylinders right now while the Seahawks have a chance to control the game with their revamped rushing attack. Bet on Seattle to at least beat the spread against the Cardinals in Week 18.
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