If the Cardinals want to make a run at the Super Bowl, they have to get past the Defending NFC Champs first

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Author: Joey Carr

In a recent interview, Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann, “HoneyBadger” Mathieu said: “Those guys are kind of in our way… We want to go somewhere, and we have to go through those guys (Seattle)”. As of right now, Arizona sits at 6-2, while the Seahawks are holding onto dear life at 4-4. The thing is, however, the Cardinals have had monumental problems with their foes from Washington in years past. Take last year for example: the Cards were rolling along quite nicely until they had to play Seattle twice in four games near the end of the season. They got manhandled in both of those contests, blew their shot at a top 2 seed in the NFC, and went on to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the 7-9 Panthers. Now while they did have a rookie and Ryan Lindley at quarterback, their defense and running game completely evaporated. So should we expect the same thing to happen this year? Or can Carson Palmer finally get Arizona to the Promise Land?

Compared to last year’s team, the Cardinals this season are a much different unit overall. Their run game is revamped with the trio of Andre Ellington, David Johnson, and Chris Johnson; Carson Palmer has a plethora of weapons in the slot and out wide, and the defense doesn’t show many weaknesses besides an average linebacker corps. They boast a top 10 overall offense and defense and have one of the better football-minded head coaches in the league in Bruce Arians. Palmer is looking like a true top 5 quarterback and the receivers around him mesh together like peanut butter and jelly. On the other side of the ball, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu form one of the better secondary’s in the league and the front seven have no problem whatsoever getting to the quarterback. It seems as though all the pieces all there for this Cardinal team, so why do we keep questioning them? Because they haven’t bested Seattle yet. The Seahawks have dominated the NFC West for a few years now and have made it known that they can beat Arizona any time they want (See Week 16 last year when Marshawn Lynch grabbed his crotch en route to a long touchdown run). However, these 2015 Seahawks are nowhere near similar to the 2014 Seahawks that were one play away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls. If there was a time that the Cardinals could pounce and prove to themselves and the world that they are a legitimate threat in the NFC, this would be that time. On the other hand, the upcoming showdown this Sunday Night between these two contenders is in Seattle, the home of the 12, and the Seahawks are in dire need of a win if they want to keep pace with the Rams and Vikings in the Wildcard race. So this ultimately comes down to which team wants to win it more, and to me, it seems like the Cardinals are in a better place right now to come out with another W in the win column. However, down the road, when these two teams meet again at the very same venue where Pete Carroll decided to throw instead of run, it could be a different story, and that game could be the difference in who walks away with the NFC West Title, assuming that Seattle can win out the rest of their schedule and Arizona stumbles here and there. Whatever the case, we’re in for a Sunday Night Showdown this weekend.

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