Seahawks-Cardinals Preview


Though the Seattle Seahawks are tied for the best record in the NFC, they know there's room for improvement - especially if they are to end their struggles in Arizona.

Looking for a more complete performance than in their last contest, the Seahawks try to avoid a third straight road loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night.

Seattle (5-1) bounced back from a 34-28 defeat to Indianapolis on Oct. 6 with a 20-13 win over Tennessee on Sunday. Russell Wilson amassed 318 total yards and Marshawn Lynch ran for 77 with two touchdowns while catching four passes for 78 yards.

The Seahawks held the Titans to 223 yards, including 66 on the ground en route to their 11th consecutive home victory. Seattle ranks second in the NFL with 290.2 yards allowed per game and third at 15.7 points a contest.

The Seahawks, however, lost two of their five fumbles and had a field-goal attempt turned into a touchdown for the opposition for the second consecutive week. Seattle scored touchdowns on two of five trips into the red zone and needed to overcome a slow offensive start that resulted in a 10-7 halftime deficit.

"It's nice to learn while you are winning and I think that's where we are," coach Pete Carroll said. "That's what we're hoping to continue.

"I don't know if we'll be able to reach the levels that we saw late last year where we were scoring points at a huge rate (while winning the final five regular-season games). That was an enormous run that we had. But that's good to expect that and I'd like to see that too."

The Seahawks don't have much time to iron out all the kinks before heading to Arizona, where they've lost six of seven, including the last two by a combined seven points. Seattle, however, rolled to a 58-0 home win over the Cardinals on Dec. 9.

"They're a brand new team to us," Carroll told the Seahawks' official website about the Cardinals under first-year coach Bruce Arians. "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.

"It's not like we're just carrying it over, same ol' same ol'. It's not like that."

The Cardinals (3-3) are 2-0 at home but will be looking to rebound from a 32-20 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.

Arizona went eight quarters without allowing a touchdown before San Francisco's Vernon Davis scored twice in the second quarter Sunday. The Cardinals were allowing averages of 19.0 points and 79.0 rushing yards prior to the game but yielded season highs in both categories. The 49ers ran for 149 yards, 101 coming from Frank Gore.

Arizona trailed by two after three quarters but San Francisco scored the only 10 points of the fourth.

"It was tough, man,'' Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington said. "Once you get your back to the wall, you have to toughen it out. I thought we lost our energy that fourth quarter to end the game. We didn't play like we did the first three quarters and the game got away from us."

Carson Palmer passed for 298 yards with two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice. He's thrown nine of his 11 interceptions in the last four games.

Larry Fitzgerald scored on one of his six receptions and had a season-high 117 yards. However, he has a sore hamstring and hopes to be ready for Thursday.

"It gets a little better and then he plays on it and it gets worse," Arians said. "So hopefully we can continue to nurse it into the small open week and get it better."

Fitzgerald was targeted 22 times in two games against the Seahawks last season, but had a combined five catches for 65 yards and no TDs.

Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons and linebacker Bobby Wagner might not be available this week, and receiver Percy Harvin is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list. Harvin, though, is likely a few weeks away from returning to game action.

"He'll be running and doing a lot of stuff this week," Carroll said. "We won't expect him to play this week, but we'll find out how far along he has come."

Lynch ran for 128 yards and three TDs on 11 attempts in the home rout of the Cardinals last season. He's totaled 171 on 40 carries without a score in the last two at Arizona.