Seattle wins 21-10
Predicted score: Seattle 13-7
Before beginning to gloat over the fact that I have successfully predicted the outcomes for the first two Redbird contests of the season, lets take a look at what wasn't expected. The most obvious inaccuracy is the overall performance of Edgerrin James. Obviously, I felt that he would have hit his stride by this point, as I predicted he'd already have enjoyed his second 100-yard game. Instead, he's only produced 137 yards on 44 carries for an average of 3.1 yards a carry with only 1 TD. James' 64-yard rushing performance in this contest is somewhat forgivable, considering that no one on the offense really got going, mostly due to the smothering Seattle defensive unit. Not to mention that he picked up a game-high 7 receptions for 33 yards. One can only assume his overall numbers will continue to improve as the offensive unit begins to gel.
After a superb first outing that saw him throw for 300 yards, Kurt Warner struggled a little more in this one. He went 24-38 for 231 yards with a TD and an INT. This is where I begin the gloating: I predicted a 19-39 performance good for 213 yards. His arm was not a factor for much of this game due to the fact that Seattle got off to the early lead, forcing more obvious passing downs, which lead to Warner spending more time on his back than expected. While only three sacks were predicted for the Arizona quarterback, he suffered five. This was a tough game for the Cardinal offense and it was to be expected.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Redbirds held tough. Shaun Alexander wasn't much more effective than was Edgerrin, as he finished the day with 89 yards on 26 carries, averaging only 3.4 a carry. He was, however, able to pick up an early TD and put any chances of an Arizona comeback to rest late in the game. Overall, though, the Arizona defense can keep its collective head held high as it was the sole reason that the Cardinals had any chance in this one. Adrian Wilson had an INT to go along with 2 sacks and Gerald Hayes also collected a sack, while Darnell Dockett added a sack of his own. Without a solid performance from this unit, this game could have gotten out of hand when you factor in the stale offensive attack.
Neil Rackers certainly didn't give Cardinal fans much to feel good about, only hitting 1 of 3 kicking chances and missing on both of his 50+ yard attempts. If he hits these two kicks, the game goes to the half 14-6, Seahawks. Instead they head to the lockers down 14-0, which was only one point away from the predicted halftime score of 13-0.
The cold hard fact that had to be faced after this contest is that this Seattle club is still the class of the NFC West and will remain so unless teams like Arizona can play a more complete game against them. Arizona's defense gives Redbird fans hope for a better outcome at home against this team later in the season. If the offensive unit is able to get it together, they'll have a real shot.
This is where I impressed even myself. Not only did yours truly call the outcome of the Cardinals' first two match-ups, but I was also able to see in my crystal ball that St. Louis would sneak by Denver at home only to suffer an embarrassing defeat on the road in San Francisco. Accordingly, my advice to the for the Cardinals heading into this week's contest remains the same: prepare for the team that upset the Broncos. Nothing fires up a decent ballclub like an early-season humiliating loss. Arizona would do well preparing for this squad as though they expect to see the Seahawks coming out of the opposing tunnel this Sunday. If they're not ready, this week's outcome will look a lot like last week's.