Seattle Seahawks (6-10, 8-8 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (11-5, 10-6), 4:25 p.m.
Brolley’s Seahawks Stats and Trends
Seattle is 2-5 ATS in its last seven NFC West games.
The Seahawks are 7-1 toward unders in their last eight road games, but they’re 4-1 toward overs in their last five games overall.
Rashaad Penny has been a revelation over the last four weeks with five rushing TDs and three performances with 100+ rushing yards, including a career-best 170 yards against Detroit last week. He has double-digit carries in five straight games and he’s averaging 6.5 YPC in that span. The Cardinals are giving up a healthy 4.4 YPC and they had been gashed for 75+ rushing yards by individual runners in four straight games before stifling Ezekiel Elliott (9/16 rushing) and Tony Pollard (3/9) last week.
Russell Wilson delivered his best fantasy performance of the season last week with 236/4 passing for 27.8 FP against the Lions. It was just his second 20+ FP performance in eight games since he returned to the lineup after he posted 22+ FP in three of his first four games before getting injured. The Cardinals limited Wilson to 207 scoreless yards in Week 11, but they’ve allowed 20+ FP to QBs in three of their last four games.
D.K. Metcalf erupted for 6/63/3 receiving on nine targets against the Lions after he averaged just 3.6/38.0 receiving per game with one TD in his first seven games since Wilson returned to the lineup. He needs 91 receiving yards to reach 1000 yards for the season, and he managed just 4/31 receiving on eight targets when these teams met in Week 11.
Tyler Lockett has scored in three of his last four games but he’s cooled off since missing Week 15 with COVID, managing just 6/54/1 receiving on nine targets in two games. Lockett erupted for 4/115 receiving on five targets against the Cards back in late November, and Cedrick Wilson caught all six of his targets for 35 yards and one TD out of the slot last week.
Gerald Everett has posted 3+ catches in 7-of-8 games since Russ returned to the lineup and 35+ yards in 6-of-8 games in that same span. He recorded 3/37 receiving on four targets against the Cardinals back in Week 11, and Arizona is giving up the second-fewest FPG (7.9) to TEs.
Brolley’s Cardinals Stats and Trends
The Cardinals beat the Seahawks 23-13 as 4.5-point road favorites in a game totaled at 44.5 points back in late November.
Arizona is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a favorite.
Kyler Murray kept the Cardinals alive for the NFC West last week by completing 26/38 passes for 263 yards (6.9 YPA) and two TDs while adding 9/44 rushing in the victory. Murray has reached 44+ rushing yards in four of his last five games since their Week 12 bye, which has helped him to 19+ FP in those contests. Backup Colt McCoy shredded the Seahawks in Week 11 with 328/2 passing for 22.9 FP.
Christian Kirk is 61 yards away from reaching 1000 yards for the first time in his career. Kirk is pacing Arizona’s WRs with a 25% target share and 6.2/66.0 receiving per game with one TD in six games without DeAndre Hopkins. His worst game without Nuk actually came against Seattle when he posted 2/25 receiving on five targets with Colt at QB in Week 11. Amon-Ra St. Brown posted 8/111/1 receiving on 11 targets in this matchup last week.
A.J. Green needs 75+ receiving yards to unlock a 250K bonus for reaching 900 receiving yards. He’s been competing with Antoine Wesley for targets on the perimeter, and the third-year WR has scored three TDs in the last two games. Green has seen just a 15% target share for 2.2/42.0 receiving per game without a TD in six games without Nuk in the lineup. Green had his best game without Hopkins in the lineup back in Week 11 against the Seahawks, posting 4/78 receiving on seven targets.
Zach Ertz is pacing Arizona’s passing game with a 27% target share in six games without Hopkins, and he’s averaging 6.0/55.0 receiving per game with two TDs. He erupted in this matchup back in Week 11 with 8/88/2 receiving with Colt at quarterback.
The Cardinals seem to be alternating healthy backs between Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe) and James Conner (heel) in recent weeks. Conner has missed the last two games with his injury, but he’s the one trending toward playing against Seattle after Edmonds missed practice early in the week. Conner averaged 22.2/114.8 scrimmage per game with eight TDs in five games without Edmonds. Conner led the backfield in touches (10 to 6), scrimmage yards (70 to 53), and snap share (44% to 39%) the last time these two backs played together in their 18-point loss to the Lions in Week 15.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 26.3 (5th)
Plays per game: 56.9 (31st)
Pass: 60.9% (14th) | Run: 39.1% (19th)
Pace: 28.5 (14th)
Plays per game: 66.7 (4th)
Pass: 61.4% (13th) | Run: 38.6% (20th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
The Seahawks have been out of the playoff hunt for weeks and still playing all of their starters like normal, so I have to think they’ll have no problem getting up and motivated to try and beat their divisional foe. Even though Seattle remains extremely low volume (31st in plays per game) and they struggle to sustain drives (31st in time of possession), this offense has finally come to life a bit as of late putting up 30 points against the 49ers, 33 against the Texans, 24 against the Bears, and they put 51 on the Lions last week. As Brolley noted above, all four of those games hit the over.
If this game is going to be a shootout, the Seahawks have to show up again and keep the Cardinals foot on the gas offensively. Arizona obviously hasn’t been lighting it up as of late, but this game is ripe for scoring looking under the hood. Even with Seattle’s middling play volume, this matchup still checks in as the third-best game of the week in pace / plays and is the second-highest totaled game (48.5) behind only Chargers-Raiders (49.5) on SNF.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Here it is, the happy hunting ground of the entire Week 18 slate. I have my blinders and earmuffs in place to shield my consciousness from anything Vegas attempts in their arsenal of tricks to dissuade my belief that this is THE matchup to target. And it all begins with Russell Wilson. Over the last five weeks, Seattle is averaging 29.6 PPG. Consuming a completely-acceptable defeat at the hands of the Rams in Week 15 – Wilson’s continual Kryptonite in the Jalen Ramsey-involved world, and the Seahawks should really have won four of their last five. I am choosing to avoid a discussion of the 15-yard TD scored by Jimmy Graham to upset the ‘Hawks in Week 16.
In a dreamworld of NFL equality, Arizona’s defense would present a considerable challenge to Seattle this week. We don’t live in that dreamworld. The Cards are dealing with some overwhelming challenges in the secondary. Both Robert Alford and Marco Wilson are very likely to miss Week 18, especially Alford. Arizona featured Antonio Hamilton and Kevin Peterson on the perimeter in Week 17. With Michael Gallup suffering a significant injury, Hamilton’s numbers offer little in the way of reliability. But Peterson did not step up to the challenge.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The future for Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll — one or both — is up in the air. It’s as simple as that. As it stands now, I’d be shocked if both are back in 2022. One or the other, I wouldn’t be so surprised. As Russ is putting his feelings on his sleeve.
When presented with the context that he doesn't have to "hope" to be a Seahawk in 2022 because he has a no-trade clause, Russ when asked why he's leaving the door open with his word choice says "My goal is to win more Super Bowls. My plan is to win them here. It's that simple."— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) January 6, 2022
I think Russ will light it up this week. Wes outlined above all the problems the Cardinals have in the secondary — they just signed Minnesota outcast Bashaud Breeland to their practice squad — and I think DK Metcalf can have a strong performance this week in case it is indeed his last game with Wilson at QB. And of course we know Rashaad Penny will get the ball too.
The Cardinals also have every incentive to play Kyler Murray and their guys, as they need a win and a Rams loss to the 49ers (also at 4:25 PM Eastern) to win the NFC West and get a home playoff game in the Wild Card Round.
One thing that could be interesting this week is that the Cardinals might have RB James Conner (heel), who missed the last two games, but might not have RB Chase Edmonds (ribs, toe) who has put up RB1 numbers in Conner’s absence. This is obviously a situation to watch as the Cards head into the playoffs.
And if they advance into the playoffs, they could be getting a key player back.
The #AZCardinals have designated JJ Watt to return from Injured Reserve.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2022
JJ Watt is a critical weapon for this defense, but Card fans will be more closely observing the chance that WR DeAndre Hopkins (knee) gets activated in the coming weeks.
Kyler Murray career TD rate in games with DeAndre Hopkins: 5.12%— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) January 4, 2022
For reference, Teddy Bridgewater has a 3.6% career rate. Josh Allen's career rate is 5.2%.