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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: ARI 23, SEA 20

Update: All notable players will be playing this week. Hasselbeck is back as expected and even Dieon Branch had a full day of practice on Friday and is expected to play. He won't be much more than a #3 this week but the receivers could be shifting roles in coming weeks.

The Cardinals are coming off a short week after beating the 49ers on Monday night and they only have a 2-3 road record this year. But the Seahawks are only 2-7 like the rest of the NFC West and are just 1-3 at home. Seattle is playing better and expects to get Hasselbeck back which should make a major difference. This is still a coin toss game but the Seahawks won't make it as easy as the records may suggest.

These teams traded home wins in 2007 when the Cardinals won 23-20 in Arizona and later the Seahawks won 42-21 in Seattle.

Arizona Cardinals (6-3)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA 31-10 -7 38.5
3 @WAS 17-24 +3 42
4 @NYJ 35-56 +3 45
5 BUF 41-17 -1 45
6 DAL 30-26 +5 50
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR 23-27 +4.5 43.5
9 @STL 34-13 -3 49
10 SF 29-24 -9.5 47.5
11 @SEA - -3.5 47.5
12 NYG - - -
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI @ SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     300,2
RB Tim Hightower 60 10  
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Anquan Boldin   80,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   110,1  
WR Steve Breaston   70  
PK Neil Rackers 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals rise to 6-3 on the season with their win over the 49ers and that makes them four games in the lead over all other NFC West teams. The outgoing schedule is not the kindest but it is no worse than the rest of the division. This week is a tough one because a win in Seattle truly stamps this as the year of big change since it sends them hopelessly downward (where they are going anyway) and props of the Cardinals to where you have to wonder if Warner, Boldin and Fitzgerald will be playing the final weeks of the season when you need them the most.

Quarterback: At the age of 37, Kurt Warner is having a career year with at least two scores in each of the last eight games and five efforts topping 300 yards including the last three weeks. Warner's level of play has been nearly flawless and he is on pace to throw for 4900 yards and 34 touchdowns this season and he has only two possible bad weather games - at Philadelphia in week 13 and then in Boston to face the Patriots in week 16.

Warner passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns in Seattle last year.

Running Backs: Tim Hightower took over as the primary running back and had a nice 109 yard, one touchdown game in St. Louis to kick off his promotion. But last week at home, Hightower only gained 22 yards on 13 carries against a feisty 49ers defense that was scared of disappointing their new head coach. Edgerrin James was given a couple of carries and did even less with them so Hightower's role is still safe but he needs to get back on track this week against a softer Seattle defense.

The Cardinals only rushed for 50 yards on 15 carries in Seattle last season.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin will become a very rich man next year when some team is going to pay a fortune for him - and he'll probably be worth every penny. Boldin currently leads the NFL with ten receiving touchdowns and no other wideout has more than six. He is so valuable that the Cardinals are now giving him two or three runs per game. He doesn't always have the most receiving yardage on the team but there is no wideout in the NFL that can touch his ability to score. And that was with him missing two games as well.

Larry Fitzgerald seems less productive with "only" six touchdowns and he isn't above having the odd bad game but Fitzgerald is always the safest bet for yardage on this team with four games already over 100 yards. Steve Breaston rounds out the dangerous trio and since secondaries focus on the other two receivers, Breaston makes them pay with four games over 90 yards in the last five weeks.

Fitzgerald had six receptions for 79 yard and one score in Seattle and since Boldin was out of that game, Jerheme Urban turned in six catches for 123 yards and a score.

Tight Ends: The emergence of Breaston ensures that the tight ends here will never matter.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks have allowed several big games by running backs but none in Seattle where most backs are limited to around three yards per carry and and only one opposing runner has scored. Look for an average game from Hightower and perhaps not that good if Hasselbeck can re-ignite the Seahawks offense. Hightower is not nearly an attractive play this week as might seem and last week showed what happens when the Cardinals struggle at all.

The good news is that the Seahawks have allowed at least one passing score every week though never more than two per opponent. Seattle has been weak against the pass which is a bad thing this week. Since Hightower will be challenged to score here, I like Warner doing what he does every week - throwing for around 300 yards and two scores that favor the wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 3 15 1 31 19 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    SEA 29 22 27 11 29 13

Seattle Seahawks (2-7)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BUF 10-34 +1 39
2 SF 30-33 -8 38.5
3 STL 37-13 -10 44
4 BYE - - -
5 @NYG 6-44 +7 43.5
6 GB 17-27 -2.5 46.5
7 @TB 10-20 +11 39
8 @SF 34-13 +4.5 42.5
9 PHI 7-26 +6.5 43
10 @MIA 19-21 +9 43
11 ARZ - +3.5 47.5
12 WAS - - -
13 @DAL - - -
14 NE - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 NYJ - - -
17 @ARZ - - -
SEA vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     240,2
RB Julius Jones 60 10  
TE John Carlson   40  
WR Bobby Engram   70,1  
WR Koren Robinson   80,1  
WR Deion Branch   30  
PK Olindo Mare 2 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks could finally get Matt Hasselbeck back after five weeks and four losses. He had a bulging disc in his back that was affecting his leg as well but has returned to practice and is expected to play this week. But the Seahawks 2008 have been a largely lackluster group thanks to constant injuries and the defense has also been hit. In years past, this would be a nice win for the Seahawks but Holmgren's last season is not the one he'll want to be remembered for.

Quarterback: Seneca Wallace hasn't been nearly as bad as was expected with a score in every game and moderate yardage as well but the return of Matt Hasselbeck should be cause for celebration since he and the wide receivers have never shared a full week together this year. Deion Branch should be returning and the wideouts no longer send everyone to the game program to figure out who is what jersey number. This was a very good passing attack in recent seasons and while it needs to find some rhythm in a hurry, it would be easy to forget how good it can be.

Hasselbeck passed for 272 yards and four touchdowns against the visiting Cardinals last year.

Running Backs: Since Hasselbeck left, the rushing attack has been punchless and has only scored one rushing touchdown in the last six weeks. Julius Jones opened the year with big games against SF and STL but has only posted mediocre numbers since then with around 50 rushing yards per game, rarely more than one catch and no touchdowns since back in week three. The return of Hasselbeck can only help but even he may not be enough to make this unit inspire respect let alone fear.

The Seahawks only gained 74 yards on 23 carries when the Cardinals came to Seattle last season.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts have undergone constant transition thanks to injuries but have settled on Bobby Engram and Koren Robinson as starters. Now Deion Branch is slated to return and he could bump either but will likely just play as the #3 for at least a few weeks until he gets back into the groove after missing all but one game this season. The passing numbers here should take an obvious spike upwards with the return of Matt Hasselbeck. Watch Branch to see what he can do but rely more on Engram and Robinson.

The Seattle wideouts all had a great game against the Cardinals last year with Engram, Deion Branch ad Nate Burleson all scoring a touchdown.

Tight Ends: John Carlson continues his strong showing for a rookie coming off a 54 yard game in Miami. His role will be changing as well with the return of both Hasselbeck and Branch but not much. He adds a nice possession role to the office but usually not must more than 40 or 50 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense has been solid this year though slightly less effective on the road. They have allowed only one 100 yard rushing game and Julius Jones has hardly been setting any Seattle records. Look for only a moderate game here by Jones and likely no score. The Cards have only allowed four runners to score all year.

The good news is that the Arizona secondary is pretty bad and only getting worse. They rank 32nd against wideouts and just 30th against quarterbacks. This is a nice week for Hasselbeck to return though the Cardinals almost always get at least two sacks per game. The last four opponents on the road had at least two scores each against the Cards and healthy yardage. Expect those two scores from Hasselbeck that should almost guaranteed end up with wideouts. I'll split them up for now but Robinson in particular should manage to score.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 29 19 30 21 20 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 30 10 32 15 9 15

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