Seahawks Insider Blog

If the Seahawks aren't exactly desperate today vs. Arizona, it's close

My game advance story in today's News Tribune highlights how the Seahawks say they aren't desperate today against first-place Arizona.

But it's close.

“I don’t feel desperate. It’s another championship opportunity for us,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said.

Sherman said desperate was “when I had negative-38 dollars in my account and I needed a ride home -- but don't play the players," he said with a wry dig at the NCAA.

“That was college,” he said of the “good ol’ days” of his senior year at Stanford.

--Columnist Dave Boling writes in today's TNT, how did the Seahawks get to such a dramatic point before Thanksgiving?

For those not in the Puget Sound region, game day has dawned with a downpour, but now before 9 a.m. the rain has stopped as predicted and there are patches of blue sky over Seattle. The forecast is for rain ending and temperatures in the low 50s for this rather large Seahawks game.

We will have our weekly Seahawks game chat with fans around the world from the press box beginning at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time here on the blog, blog.newstribune/seahawks.

Here is my game preview box:

SEAHAWKS GAMEDAY

ARIZONA CARDINALS (9-1) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-4)

1:05 p.m. Sunday, CenturyLink Field

TV: Channel 13 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM

The series: The Cardinals lead the series 16-14 and won last December at CenturyLink Field 17-10, one of only two losses for Seattle in its last 21 regular-season home games. The Seahawks are 9-7 in Seattle against the St. Louis and the Arizona/Phoenix Cardinals all-time.

SEATTLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY

Cage those blitzing birds: Arizona is going to blitz up the middle, off the edge, on run downs and passing downs, with linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks. So far, its gotten away with it for nine wins in 10 games. But the risk remains. If newly re-signed center Lemuel Jeanpierre or fourth-stringer Patrick Lewis can even remotely communicate the proper protection calls in a way injured Max Unger can, and if the line and helping backs/tight ends can give Russell Wilson even an extra second or two to throw, the Seahawks could finally hit on overdue huge plays. If not, look out Seattle.

Free Bobby Wagner: The Seahawks’ dynamic, play-making middle linebacker and tackler supreme has been in the captivity of a torn foot ligament and broken bone for the last five games. Pete Carroll said they are going to be careful with Wagner’s play count in his return today, though Wagner says he’s full go. If ever there was a game to turn him loose all over the field and see how much he can take and shine, this is it. Wagner alone could make Seattle’s defense so much better than it has been.

6, not 3, inside the 20: Seattle has just 23 touchdowns in 43 trips to the red zone. That 53.6-percent success rate is only 20th-best in the league. Defenses are stacking the line against Marshawn Lynch’s runs nearer the goal line, so Wilson and the Seahawks’ passing game needs to make the plays that will be there inside the 20.

The pick: Seahawks, 23-20. They are as healthy as they’ve been in months. And this is one the champs absolutely have to have. Wilson will make the big plays when Seattle needs them most.

PRIME NUMBERS

SEATTLE

No.  Name                    Pos.     Ht.        Wt.       Year

3      Russell Wilson        QB      5-11      206       third

“The time is now,” he said this week. That, to him, means time to take over with his legs and arm.

89    Doug Baldwin        WR       5-10      189       fourth

When Wilson needs to make a play in the passing game, this is the guy who he’ll look for.

61    Lemuel Jeanpierre  C/G      6-3        301       fifth

The return of Lem: Need his experience at center on O-line unsettled by Unger’s injury

ARIZONA

No.   Name                   Pos.     Ht.        Wt.       Year

12     John Brown          WR       5-10      179       rookie

In AZ’s only loss he had just 2 catches for season-low 4 yards. He will test Seattle deep.

5       Drew Stanton       QB       6-3        247       eighth

Fifth start this season. He had four in his first seven seasons. Can SEA rattle him?

21    Patrick Peterson    CB       6-1        219       fourth

With about half of AZ’s defense injured, his standout coverage is even more important

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