Seahawks vs. Cardinals 2014 picks and predictions: Seattle picked to win NFC West battle
Despite having a lesser record and being on the road, Seattle is running unopposed in the predictions department.
The Seattle Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl champions, and they are playing like it. After starting the season 3-3, Seattle has won 7-of-8 games and sits only one game back of the surprising Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. The teams square off on Sunday Night Football in Week 16. Arizona has already claimed their playoff spot at 11-3, but would fall from the first to fifth seed with a loss.
The Cardinals are an incredible story. Despite losing their starting quarterback twice to injury, Bruce Arians and company have continued to win. Arizona has relied heavily on its depth behind Carson Palmer, and will do so again with Ryan Lindley making his first start of the season. Lindley was signed in November as a backup to Drew Stanton, and is now pressed into action after Stanton sprained his MCL last Thursday. For his career, Lindley has no touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Those are unfortunate numbers for any quarterback, let alone one going against a ball-hawking secondary that includes Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Seattle has gotten back to playing hard-hitting defense like it did last season, allowing the fewest yards in the NFL. The unit has been lights out, surrendering seven points or less in three of the last four games. Offensively, Marshawn Lynch remains the engine with 1,133 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
The panel at USA Today sides with the Seahawks, who would move into the top seed of the NFC with a victory. The eight experts at CBS Sports all believe Seattle will continue its ascension in the standings. However, five of those men are giving Arizona some respect, picking the Cards to cover the 8.5-point spread. Only Chris Mortensen is picking the Cardinals over at ESPN.