Week 1: Seahawks-Cardinals matchup

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Seattle at Arizona
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. - TV: FOX; DirecTV: 713
*TV announcers: Sam Rosen, Heath Evans, Heidi Androl
*Keys to the game: John Skelton "won" the Cardinals' starting job almost by default after he and Kevin Kolb were unimpressive during the preseason, and coach Ken Whisenhunt made no secret the leash will be short. Arizona wants to run the ball more consistently this season, but the loss of left tackle Levi Brown was a significant blow and Seattle boasts a big and physical run defense. RBs Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams will get plenty of early carries as the Cardinals try to keep Skelton out of dangerous passing situations. The Seahawks named third-round rookie QB Russell Wilson the starter and he certainly brings mobility behind a mediocre offensive line. But how well he adjusts to defenses game-planning against him and how well he can throw between the hashes at under 5-11 are the big questions. RB Marshawn Lynch remains the huge focal point of the offense.
*Matchup to watch - Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Cardinals LT D'Anthony Batiste: The Cardinals are taking a big game on Batiste replacing Brown, but they don't have many options considering rookie Bobby Massie is starting on the right side. Clemons has quietly racked up 11 sacks in each of the past two seasons and comes armed with a new contract and a complementary pass rusher in rookie Bruce Irvin.
*Player spotlight - Seahawks RB Robert Turner: Turner was impressive during the preseason and figures to play a significant role with Lynch dealing with nagging back spasms. Lynch saw action in only one preseason game.
*Fast facts: Lynch had a league-leading 941 rushing yards over the final nine weeks of last season. ... Skelton had a 30.8 passer rating with no touchdown passes in the first quarter of games last season.
The Seahawks are built to stop the run and attack on long passing downs. If they can contain RBs Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, they'll find the turnovers they need against John Skelton to create short fields for Russell Wilson.
*Our pick: Seahawks 20-17

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