Though it’s only November, the NFL has it’s first must-see game of the season this weekend as the upstart Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks. This “battle of the birds” is a true NFC West showdown. The Cardinals have defied the odds and sit with the best record in the NFL, and are in the argument of who is the best team. The Seahawks are at home in the very tough Century Link Field, home of the infamous “12th man,” and they are coming off a season where their defense dominated, leading to the Lombardi trophy that sits somewhere in Seattle. But with the Cardinals fast start, the Seahawks are already in danger of falling too far behind.
The Seahawks haven’t really steamrolled anybody this season — not at all, actually. Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and “beast mode” Marshawn Lynch have lost some tough games, and the team looks very confused at times. Locker room rumors have leaked that the team is falling apart at the seams, and that led to the trade of Percy Harvin. But their play on the field in recent weeks shows those rumors are just that: rumors. They come into this NFC West showdown with a lot to prove — to themselves and to the rest of the league.
As for the Arizona Cardinals, their 2014 season is the best start in the franchise in generations — truly, since 1948. Coach Bruce Arians has brought a new attitude to the club that was sorely lacking in many areas, and it is a team decimated by injuries. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer is lost for the season after tearing his ACL, as the Inquisitr reported earlier this month. Defensive leader Darnell Dockett was lost for the year during training camp.
Yet this team still figures out ways to win. They aren’t laden with talent, and there may not even be a true “superstar” on the team — and that includes wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is quietly putting together a solid year without a ton of flash. These redbirds are a mystery as they just keep winning, and in their one loss — to a Peyton Manning-lead Denver team in Week 4 — came after the loss of two QBs to injury and the third stringer, who had never taken an NFL snap, coming in to lead the team in the second half. Even with this “next man up” game plan by Coach Arians, the Cardinals look to take a solid command in the NFC West with a win.
The Cardinals continue to just flap along, beating any team that dares venture into the University of Phoenix Stadium (home of this year’s Super Bowl, by the way). When they go on the road, it’s more of the same, setting up this NFC West Showdown.
Seattle has always been a tough place for opposing teams to play, but the Cardinals have the benefit of knowledge, as they thumped the Seahawks at Century Link last season, the “Hawks” Super Bowl season.
This match up promises flash and grinding and lots of defense. Both offenses are good, but not great, and the team with the best defense will win this NFC Showdown. Even though the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football, they are still underdogs in this match as Seattle is inexplicably favored, according to ESPN’s John Clayton via Arizona Sports.
What do you think about the big showdown for command in the NFC West? Are the Seahawks coming around at just the right time, or is this the year of the Cardinals? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of gamblerspalace.com]