By Kevin McGuire
With the Los Angles Rams sitting on top of the NFC West, the Thursday night game between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks may be considered a must-win game for each. Throw in Russell Wilson on one side and Larry Fitzgerald on the other, and you have some good star power for a Thursday night matchup out west.
Here’s a look at this week’s Thursday Night Football game between the Cardinals and Seahawks.
When They Last Met…
This will be the first meeting of the 2017 season between the two NFC West foes. The Cardinals took the edge in the season series a year ago with a 34-31 victory in Seattle on Christmas Eve. It was a far more entertaining game than the first meeting of the year between the two. The Cardinals and Seahawks played to a 6-6 tie on October 23 of last year.
Arizona leads the all-time series 18-17-1, but the Cardinals have not defeated Seattle at home since 2012. Seattle is 3-0-1 in the four games since Arizona’s last home win in the series.
Adrian Peterson already sparking Arizona running game
He has been with the team for just three games, but the veteran running back Adrian Peterson is already the team’s rushing leader with 316 yards, although he is still looking for his first touchdown with his new team since being acquired from New Orleans. Against San Francisco on Sunday, Peterson carried the football a career-high 37 times.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson leads Seattle’s running game
Since moving on from Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks have been comfortable allowing their franchise quarterback to take control of the running game when needed. This is especially true given the youth of the running game and having Eddie Lacy banged up and questionable. Wilson’s 271 yards and one touchdown are each team highs for Seattle. Chris Carson, who was lost for the season in Week 4, has 208 rushing yards and J.D. McKissic is the only other Seahawk with a rushing touchdown this season.
Arizona .500 at home, Seattle .500 on the road
Good luck trying to determine if home-field advantage exists in this game. So far this season, the Cardinals have been .500 at home and the Seahawks are .500 on the road. The Cardinals will be returning home after a road win and the Seahawks are on the road after losing a game at home. Home field advantage may not exist in the NFC West if this trend sticks.
Refs could be busy with the yellow flags
One of the pressing issues in some NFL games this season has been the officiating. This may not be any different from any other year, of course, but the Seahawks are no strangers to having flags thrown on them. Seattle is the most penalized team in the NFL, and just had 16 penalties called against them in a home loss to the Redskins. That brings their season total up to 82 penalties through eight games. Arizona has fared better with the refs with 54 penalties in eight games. Twenty-two of Arizona’s penalties have led to a first down.