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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: ARI 20, SEA 27

Late Update: Burleson had a full day on Friday and is probable - he will play this week and is safe to start. Breaston was limited in all practices this week but he's going to play - it is the same knee condition he has had for weeks.

Early Update: Steve Breaston is not practicing fully so far this week but it is just to rest the same sore knee as before. He is expected to play this week. Nate Burleson has a sore back and has been limited so far this week. Check back after the Friday practices but at this point he is still expected to play.

This will be an interesting game since the Seahawks served notice last week that Hasselbeck was back and this was a new team. The Cardinals have only had one road game so far and most recently held off the visiting Texans. This game could go either way but the Cardinals are giving up the pass at the wrong time. With any luck, this turns into a shootout.

The Cardinals swept the Seahawks in 2008, winning 26-20 in Seattle and later 34-21 at home.

Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SF 16-20 -6 46
2 @JAC 31-17 +3 43
3 IND 10-31 -2.5 48
4 BYE - - -
5 HOU 28-21 -5.5 48
6 @SEA - +3 47
7 @NYG - - -
8 CAR - - -
9 @CHI - - -
10 SEA - - -
11 @STL - - -
12 @TEN - - -
13 MIN - - -
14 @SF - - -
15 @DET - - -
16 STL - - -
17 GB - - -
ARI at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     280,2
RB Chris Wells 30    
RB Tim Hightower 40 40  
WR Anquan Boldin   80  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   70,1  
WR Steve Breaston   60,1  
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals embark on a two game road trip that heads to Seattle and then to New York to face the Giants. They can still potentially win the NFC West again because after the next few weeks, the schedule eases up sharply and the Cards should end the year on a high note. But showing up this week is going to be key. The Cards won their only road game so far but the Jaguars were easier than the next two weeks will be.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner has been solid again this year with at least one score every week and 290+ yards in the three home games. The lone road trip only resulted in 243 yards but had two passing scores. Against the Colts, he threw for 332 yards and one touchdown. The old man can still play and there is no more mentioning of Matt Leinart.

Warner had big games when he played against the Seahawks last season. He threw for 395 yards and one score in Seattle and later 263 yards and four touchdowns in the home matchup.

The Seahawks held three bad teams to no no passing scores but Cutler had 247 yards and three scores in Seattle and Manning passed for 353 yards and two scores when the Seahawks came to Indy. Warner knows this defense and should have no less than a very good game and could end up with a really big one if the Seahawks get much of a lead.

Running Backs: It is official now. Beanie Wells rookie season is over. When he was only given seven carries against the visiting Texans and their terrible rushing defense, it said that the Cards were a passing team and Wells is going to have to come along slowly and learn more pass blocking and receiving skills before he can supplant the slug of Tim Hightower. The Cardinals were ahead 21-0 over the Texans at the half and only ran the ball four times in the second half. It is official.

The Cardinals only ran for 75 yards in Seattle last year but scored once.

The Seahawks rushing defense has been much improved since Frank Gore gashed it for 207 yards. In Seattle, no opposing runner has gained more than 67 yards and none have scored. Look for more futility from the rushing game but a chance that Hightower has enough catches to make him a marginal fantasy play this week.

Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald has scored four times this year and had two just last week but not once has a Cardinals wideout had a 100 yard game this year. Steve Breaston came the closest with 94 yards on seven catches against the Colts but he has yet to score. Anquan Boldin has exceeded 80 yards and scored once in the last two games but 83 yards is his best. Fitzgerald has not been better than 79 yards - but he has four of the five touchdowns caught by a wideout.

Fitzgerald gained 151 yards on ten receptions in Seattle last season and Boldin had 186 yards on 13 receptions.

Both touchdown passes should end up with the wideouts since the Cardinals do not use the tight end position as a receiver. Fitzgerald is always a decent bet to score and Breaston could get his first of the year since the slot receiver has accounted for two of the four passing scores allowed to wideouts this year.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 12 22 2 32 17 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    SEA 8 19 18 12 5 9

Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 28-0 -7.5 37
2 @SF 10-23 +1.5 39.5
3 CHI 19-25 +2 37
4 @IND 17-34 +10 43.5
5 JAC 41-0 +3 40
6 ARI - -3 47
7 BYE - - -
8 @DAL - - -
9 DET - - -
10 @ARI - - -
11 @MIN - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 SF - - -
14 @HOU - - -
15 TB - - -
16 @GB - - -
17 TEN - - -
SEA vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     290,2
RB Julius Jones 60,1 10  
TE John Carlson   40  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   80,1  
WR Deion Branch   40  
WR Nate Burleson   100,1  
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Last week was a great way to gloss over three consecutive losses but there it is no coincidence that the two wins both came when Matt Hasselbeck played full games. He apparently inspired the defense too since they recorded shutouts in both games that Hasselbeck finished. Now that is a quarterback.

Actually, Hasselbeck has lucked into home games and game Seneca Wallace the tougher ones on the schedule. After the bye next week, it turns into four of five games on the road and crawling out of this 2-3 hole remains very challenging. But Hasselbeck has made the offense click again and that's good enough for this week.

Quarterback: The two games that featured Matt Hasselbeck starting and finishing the game resulted in seven touchdowns and at least 240 passing yards in both. The Rams and Jaguars were happy to fall apart those weeks and so far Hasselbeck looks like the do-or-die savior for this team. And it is sort of true.

Hasselbeck only passed for 170 yards and one score when the Cards visited last year.

The Cardinals are horrible against the pass with nine passing scores allowed in just four games. The last three weeks have seen their opponents pass for at least 280 yards and both Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub threw for over 270 yards. This is a chance for Hasselbeck to tack onto his big game last week and he should have nothing less than high 200's yardage and two scores. It could grow bigger as it did last week.

Running Backs: Julius Jones has seen his role shrink lately and while he scored in the first three games, the last two have been without score or more than 36 total yards. Edgerrin James had 16 carries for 46 yards but that came after the game was well in hand so expect to see Jones back in the primary role this week. One caveat here - James could plead his case for more playing time against the team that dumped him in the offseason. That is not to say he would run well, but he could cut into Jones action which lately has not been much anyway.

The Seahawks only rushed for 26 yards on 18 carries when the Cards visited in 2008 but T.J. Duckett scored twice.

The Cardinals rushing defense has been even better than the #14 ranking suggests since it considers the receiving yards of running backs and the Seahawks rarely throw to the tailbacks other than Justin Forsett on occasion. There is hope for Jones to get at last moderate yardage since most runners have been playing in Arizona - not at home. And the one road game for the Cards had Maurice Jones-Drew gaining 66 yards on only 13 carries. Jones is not going to get a big volume of carries but could score this week and have moderate numbers if James doesn't get into the way.

Wide Receivers: The return of Hasselbeck certainly lit up the Jaguars with these wide receivers last week. T.J. Houshmandzadeh had his first two scores as a Seahawk on his five catches for 77 yards. Nate Burleson suffered a rib injury in that game but continued to play and had six catches for 98 yards and two scores as well. There is no denying that Hasselbeck is a better passer than Wallace but the monster games were the product of a listless Jaguars defense showing up.

No wideout had more than 54 yards when the Cards visited in week 11 of last year.

The Cardinals secondary can be beaten and ranks as one of the worst thanks to the Colts in particular. Look for both passing scores to end up with the wideouts again this week and that should strongly favor the two main starters.

Tight Ends: John Carlson had a season high 95 yards and two scores in the season opener with a healthy Hasselbeck and he maintained decent value in the last several weeks but never scored. Once Hasselbeck returned last week, Carlson only had two catches for 31 yards but the Jaguars were on the run from the start. He makes a reasonable start this week against one of the weaker defenses against the position.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 7 17 12 15 10 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 30 14 28 28 9 12

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