Thursday Night Football Breakdown – Seahawks @ Cardinals

Well, we all crashed and burned on SportsIntel’s maiden voyage of “Thursday Night Football Breakdown” as a frisky Jets team surprised America by putting a thorough whooping on the road weary Buffalo Bills. Josh McCown continues to defy all logic and convention, running for TDs like no one could ever imagine for a 38 year old career backup, and the Jets capitalized on a bunch of dumb turnovers. I thought Buffalo would be able to run the ball based on the health status of Muhammad Wilkerson (who ended up playing), but Shady McCoy gained just 25 yards on 12 carries. Tyrod played pretty well, but the Bills put the ball on the ground four times and lost three of those fumbles. Beware the road favorite in division on the short week! Speaking of which . . .

November 9, 2017: Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4); Line: ‘Hawks by 6

Brad’s Take: Last week I wrote about recent form as an indicator of future performance and, while that turned out to be ill-advised, this is one area where the scenario from last week is different. Arizona is coming off a win against division rival San Francisco, whereas Seattle stubbed its toe at home against a desperate Washington squad. Having said that, I really don’t see the Seahawks losing two straight in division or Drew Stanton guiding the Cards to two wins in five days. Aside from my gut feelings, let’s take a peek at some numbers:

   Arizona     Seattle       Advantage
DVOA     27th        9th             SEA
Points For     17.4       23.6             SEA
Points Against     25.1       18.6             SEA


So what about the road team on the short week? Seattle has actually fared quite well in its last four trips to the desert winning in the ’13, ’14, and ’15 seasons before playing a legendary 6-6 tie last October. (Oddly enough Arizona has won three of four trips to Seattle over that same time frame.) If I was going to put my paycheck on this game, I would take the Seahawks to cover the spread. Seattle will be eager to get the bitter taste from Sunday out of their mouths and won’t be intimidated since they’re used to playing at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Chris’s Take: All I’ll say about the Jets vs. Bills game last week is good on Josh McCown for bucking the grain in 2017. Bad backup QBs have been rearing their ugly heads all over the league and he seems determined to be an outlier in that respect. This week we’re talking about another backup QB in Drew Stanton who also wants to avoid donning the ‘bad backup’ attribution, and a rather good QB in Russell Wilson. While Stanton has had surprising success filling in as the starter, Russell Wilson has been fantastic in the month of November every season he’s played. But this game is about getting a win on the road in Arizona and as Brad mentioned the Seahawks have found success in the desert.

In order to win this game, the Seahawks will need Wilson to have a good game and their defense to step up, while the Cardinals will need Drew Stanton, Adrian Peterson, and their defense to put it all together for four quarters of football. Unfortunately, I believe that’s too big an ask for this Arizona team against a divisional rival of Seattle’s caliber. The Seahawks won’t drop two in a row with the NFC playoff picture looking as tight as it is, even on a short week, so expect a victory for Pete Carroll and company.

Danny’s Take: There are so many takes one could have on this game. Seattle is coming off a strange loss in which they statistically dominated but some how managed to lose to a Redskins team at home that could barely field an offensive line. Despite all the hype surrounding the Seahawks’ four-game win streak that was snapped last Sunday, this is a team with plenty of warts. They have only beat one winning team all year and have yet to play a complete game at the mid-point of the season. They have been reliably inconsistent on offense and their defense is missing perhaps its best player in Earl Thomas. They are playing on a short week on the road which can be problematic for teams.

The Cardinals are surprisingly 4-4 at the mid-point of the season despite losing Carson Palmer for the season. Several people, myself included, considered them down for the count after Palmer went down. They won this last week by handing the ball to a 32-year old Adrian Peterson 37 times. The defense is still strong and the Cardinals front seven has historically given Seattle fits. The Cardinals defense is capable of beating the Seahawks by itself and they have done it before. Last year these teams played on a short week in Arizona and it resulted in a 6-6 tie. This Seattle team has a lot of talent but I worry about its inconsistency. It has already bitten them a couple of times this season. Drew Stanton doesn’t scare me however and I can’t imagine a 32-year old running back coming back on a short week with a big game after carrying the ball 37 times on Sunday. The Seahawks get just enough offense to win in the desert 17-14.