The NFC West is arguably the best division in football, as the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams are all 6-3 and tied for first place in the division.  Thursday Night Football this week brings us a showdown between two of those teams, as the Cardinals look to take the momentum from their incredible win last week up to Seattle when they take on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.  It’s sure to be a good one!

Week 11 Prime Time Picks: Cardinals (+140) vs Seahawks (-3) O/U 57.5 – All lines via DraftKings

Prime Time Picks: 10-9

High-Flying Birds

Both of these offenses are putting up incredible numbers.  The Cardinals rank #1 in the NFL averaging 425.4 total yards per game, and have a league-leading seven games with 400+ total yards this season.  They are just the 2nd team in NFL history to have 2,300+ passing yards and 1,500+ rushing yards through the first nine games of a season.  They really know how to move the ball effectively.  Arizona is putting up 29.6 points per game (7th in the league), and leading the league in rushing yards per game with 168.9.  On the other hand, Seattle is also very effective when it comes to offensive efficiency.  The Seahawks are #1 in points per game with 32.2, and 3rd in passing yards per game with 289.4.  

Expect a Shootout

With both of these offenses being at the top of the NFL, the defensive units for these teams are another story.  For Seattle, they have been giving up big play after big play.  They are dead last in yards per game (448.3) and passing yards per game (353.3), and after seeing those numbers, you know Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins will be ready for some deep throws down the field.  The good news for Seattle is that Jamal Adams is back, and dominated this past week against the Rams, sacking Jared Goff twice on safety blitzes and forcing a fumble. Seattle does have the 4th best rushing defense, allowing just 95 yards per game on the ground, but I think that has more to do with just how bad their passing defense is, and teams tending to air it out against them as opposed to sticking with the run.  We will find out just how good the Seahawk rushing defense is in this one, as Arizona leads the league in rushing yards per game, and is sure to attack on the ground early and often with Kyler Murray (87 attempts, 604 yards, 10 TD), Kenyan Drake (135 attempts, 604 yards, 4 TD), and Chase Edmonds (62 attempts, 302 yards, 1 TD).  In terms of defense, the Cardinals are giving up 249.8 passing yards per game, which is 20th in the league.  The Seahawks have an extremely effective passing game, and receivers D.K. Metcalf (45 catches, 816 yards, 8 TD) and Tyler Lockett (58 catches, 681 yards, 7 TD) should be able to be successful.  Expect a lot of points in a high-flying shootout.  

Seahawks Looking for Revenge

These two teams met in Arizona in October, and it was one of the better games of the NFL season thus far.  Both quarterbacks threw for 3 TD’s and Kyler Murray added a rushing TD.  The Cardinals were able to pick off Russell Wilson three times, but they allowed Tyler Lockett to catch 15 passes for 200 yards and 3 TD’s.  The game went to overtime, where the Cardinals were able to win 37-34.  In a division as tight as the NFC West is right now, divisional games at home are extremely important, and Seattle will be looking for their revenge in this one.  

Cardinals Back on the Road

The Cardinals come into this game after a miracle last-second win against the Bills on Sunday.  After Buffalo scored a touchdown with under a minute left to take the lead 30-26 over Arizona, Kyler Murray lofted up a Hail Mary that was somehow caught by DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone to win the game.  

Now, after that extremely emotional win, the Cardinals will play their first road game in exactly a month.  Arizona is 3-1 on the road this season, but the four teams they have faced have a combined record of 9-29.  Seattle is one of the best teams in the NFL when playing at home, and are 4-0 at CenturyLink Field this season. 

Seahawks Happy to be Back at Home

After winning their first five games of the season, the Seahawks have faltered a bit, losing three of their last four.  They come into this one after back-to-back road losses to the Bills and Rams, and are no doubt happy to be back at home.  Russell Wilson is one of the best QB’s in the game, and has been known to play at his best at CenturyLink Field.  Not only that, but Wilson is 8-1 in his career on Thursday night, with 18 TD’s, just 4 interceptions, and a rating of 110.3.  Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are an NFL-best 31-8-1 in prime time since he arrived in 2010.  That includes a 21-3 record at home.  

PREDICTION

This is going to be a great game.  These two teams went down to the wire last time, and I think we will see a similar showdown this time.  These offenses are electric, and I think the game will be very high-scoring, and mainly come down to two things: 

  1. Capitalizing on offensive chances/red zone opportunities.  Settling for field goals is not going to win this game.  That being said, I think Seattle has an edge.  The Seahawks have the best red zone offense in the league, scoring touchdowns in 26 of their 32 trips, for a percentage of 82.4%.  Seattle knows how to punch it in when they get down near the goal line, and doing so in this game will be paramount.  
  2. Limiting unforced errors and penalties.  These offenses are both so talented that they do not need any help from defensive penalties.  Similarly, offenses like these don’t need to be slowing themselves down with self-inflicted offensive penalties.  Seattle also has an edge here.  The Seahawks are the 2nd-least penalized team in the league, committing just 29 penalties for 303 yards in their nine games.  On the contrary, Arizona is the most penalized team in the league.  They have committed 69 penalties for 519 yards in nine games.  Staying out of your own way will be a key part of this game, and I think Seattle has an edge there.

On top of these reasons, having Jamal Adams back certainly helps this Seahawks defense, and they played a lot better last week, holding the Rams to 23 points. The offense needs to step up, and I think we will see vintage Russell Wilson making plays with both his arm and his legs. I also think that D.K. Metcalf will have a better game this time around against Arizona than last time when he had just 2 catches for 23 yards. Seattle has an advantage in that they are back at home, and Arizona is coming off an emotional last-second win on a short week and will be playing their first road game in a month.  Seattle is 21-3 at home in prime time games under Pete Carroll, and in Seattle’s six wins this season, five of them have been by five or more points.  I think that Seattle will be able to get back on track, and get their revenge on the Cardinals by winning this divisional matchup at home and covering the spread.

Seahawks -3

@stadium_times

Title Photo: Seahawks.com

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