Every NFL has a turning point.
Sometimes more than one in the 17-week, 16-game grudge-fest of the regular season.
For Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals they’re turning point came back on October 17, an ugly 34-22 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, the Cards (9-5) have won six of seven and are looking to atone for their Week 7 Thursday night meltdown.
Sunday comes a re-match with the NFC-leading Seahawks (12-2) who, at worst, have clinched a Wild Card spot in the post-season. With the Red Birds playoff hopes still a long shot, Arians knows Arizona must win-out and it won’t be easy Sunday at CenturyLink Field where offenses have been known to die in the raucous crowd.
“They’re a very good team,” Arians said Wednesday. “Dominating is a strong word, but they are solid and they are physical.”
He stressed the Cardinals are playing much better compared to the the first time the two teams meant. Arizona hasn’t lost at home since and are peaking at the right time heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Seattle can beat you on both sides of the ball. Offensively, elusive quarterback Russell Wilson can beat you with his arm and his legs, while bruising back Marshawn Lynch gets it done on the ground. The two combined for 355 total yards and four touchdowns at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Offensively, Carson Palmer and the crew must content with the “Legion of Boom.” The Seahawks defense has been stingy, as always. Arians believes the Cards key to success starts here.
“You have to stay balanced,” he explained. “You don’t want to get into that kind of game up there.”
Palmer, who has been bothered by an ankle injury but expects to play, says one of Seattle’s greatest strengths is their ability to attack from anywhere defensively.
“They have linebackers that can rush the passer,” Palmer explained in the locker room Wednesday. “The have [defensive] tackles that can rush the passer and guys who can cover. So, it’s obviously a great defense. They’re number one in the league for a reason.”
Arians was later asked if he showed his team the tape from last year’s 58-0 loss in Seattle just over a year ago. Many feel it was the most humiliating setback in franchise history.
“No, he said. “It’s not our offense and it’s not our defense. I mean, who gives an [expletive]?”