WR Larry Fitzgerald (Streeter Lecka/Getty)
Coming off a short week, the Cardinals head to the northwest to battle the Seattle Seahawks. While Seattle has been disappointing this season, they’re getting healthier by the day and may be catching Arizona at an opportune time. Brad Wilbricht previews this week’s matchup and breaks down the Seahawks roster.
Under head coach Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks have historically featured outstanding offensive attacks. However, a rash of injuries nearly depleted Seattle’s wide receiving corps and knocked out QB Matt Hasselbeck for the past six weeks. Fortunately for defending NFC West champions, Hasselbeck looks healthy enough to return to action and WR Deion Branch could also suit up this Sunday.
Without Hasselbeck, the Seahawks were forced to go with backups Charlie Frye and Seneca Wallace under center. Frye went out with an injury of his own while Wallace has performed admirably during his time on the field. Nonetheless, Seattle has managed only 260 yards per game of total offense, including just 145 yards per contest through the air.
The Seahawks revamped their backfield last offseason and have been surprisingly effective even without the presence of a consistent signal caller. As a team, Seattle is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has fumbled only once this season. RB Julius Jones leads the team in rushing, carrying the ball 129 times for 597 yards and two touchdowns. Goal-line specialist T.J. Duckett has done an excellent job near the end zone, as he’s reached pay dirt four times on just 39 carries.
Rookie TE John Carlson has been the Seahawks’ most productive receiver thus far, hauling in 27 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. With Branch, Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson all missing significant action, Koren Robinson has picked up the slack and become Seattle’s main target on the perimeter. Robinson was signed prior to Week 6 and has 17 grabs for 202 yards and two touchdowns during his second stint in Seattle.
Bobby Engram & Deion Branch
On defense, the Seahawks are allowing a robust 372 yards per outing and have been torched in the secondary giving up 252 yards per game through the air. Seattle has only four interceptions on the season and is currently tied for last in the NFL with eight forced turnovers through their first nine games.
Despite their struggles, the Seahawks’ defense is led by a tremendous linebacking group consisting of Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill. Tatupu remains the heart-and-soul of Seattle’s defense but Hill leads the team with 77 tackles and six tackles for a loss. DE Patrick Kerney has wreaked havoc on QB Kurt Warner and the Cardinals’ offensive line during recent matchups, but he’s missed the Seahawks last two games due to a shoulder injury.
Seattle boasts an excellent return game with Josh Wilson returning kickoffs and Justin Forsett as the team’s primary punt returner. Wilson has racked up 891 kickoff return yards and is averaging 25.5 yards per return. Meanwhile, Forsett has returned 13 punts for 139 yards, good for a 10.7-yard average.
Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at email@example.com