Seattle and Arizona could both qualify for the playoffs; but it is very possible that one will be left on the outside looking in when the bracket is finalized. Even if both teams qualify for the postseason, the winner of their matchup in week 16 will almost assuredly take the NFC West title and earn at least one playoff home game, while the loser would likely have to win three road games to reach Super Bowl XLIX.
The Seahawks and Cardinals met in week 9 with Seattle earning a 19-3 victory at CenturyLink Field. Seattle outgained the Cards 293-204 and forced the only turnover in the contest. The Cardinals were limited to three of 12 on third down while the Seahawks were marginally better, going five for 13.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was 17 of 22 passing for 211 yards and one score. Arizona signal caller Drew Stanton was ineffective all game, going 14 of 26 for just 149 yards and one interception.
The Arizona defense played extremely well in the loss. Seattle had great field position throughout the game, but was only able to score one major. The Cardinals pass rush, which sacked Wilson seven times, gets the bulk of the credit.
Seattle did not play well on the road early in the year, but has improved over the course of the season. The Seahawks are 4-3 away from home straight-up and 3-4 against the spread. After losing at San Diego (30-21) in week 2, Seattle won at Washington (27-17) in week 5. They dropped a week 7 date in St. Louis (28-26) and struggled to beat Carolina (13-9) in week 8.
After falling in Kansas City (24-20) in week 11, things turned around; Seattle dominated the Niners on the road (19-3) in week 13, and handed Philly its first home loss of the year (24-14) in week 14.
Seattle won in Arizona 34-22 last year, but the Cardinals have knocked off Seattle at University of Phoenix Stadium in two of the last three and six of the last eight.
The Cardinals are unbeaten at home and 6-1 against the spread on the year. They’ve held opponents to 20 points or less in each of their seven home games. In week 14, they missed two field goals but still beat Kansas City at home (17-14). The Cards won back-to-back games in front of friendly fans in weeks 10 and 11, thrashing the Rams (31-14) and edging the Lions (14-6). In week 8, Philadelphia came to town and left with a 24-20 loss. To open the season, the Cards beat San Diego (18-17), San Francisco (23-14), and Washington (30-20) at home.
Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton, who has taken over for the injured Carson Palmer, has tossed six touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 57-percent of his throws at home.
Prior to hooking up in week 16, the Cardinals visit the surging Rams, while the Seahawks have a rematch with the reeling Niners in Seattle.
(Photo credit: Larry Maurer [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)