SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-3) AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-4)
KICKOFF: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium. TV: NBC, NFLN, Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (field reporter).
SERIES HISTORY: 37th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 18-17-1. With a 1-0-1 record against the Seahawks in 2016, the Cardinals won the season series for the first time since 2009 and for just the third time since division realignment in 2002. Arizona is 6-4-1 at home against Seattle since the team began playing at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. But, since Bruce Arians took over as coach in 2013, the Cardinals are 0-3-1 vs. the Seahawks at home and 3-1 against them in Seattle. Last year in Glendale, the teams battled to a 6-6 tie as kickers Chandler Catanzaro and Steven Hauschka missed field goals from under 30 yards in the final 3:25 of overtime.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Little-known stat in this matchup is that Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton, pressed into action when Carson Palmer broke his left arm, is shooting for his fifth consecutive victory as a starter. No. 4 was last week against the 49ers, 20-10. OK, the streak began almost three years ago for the career backup. But he does have a 7-3 mark as a starter in place of Palmer, and he is 3-0 at home.
That said, the visiting Seattle Seahawks are 3-0-1 in their last four trips to Glendale, and they are locked and loaded with dual threat quarterback Russell Wilson.
To make Stanton comfortable, and keep the Seahawks honest, the Cardinals will once again lean heavily on 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson to set the tone early and often. It's doubtful he will carry 37 times, as he did against San Francisco, but coach Bruce Arians said Peterson will get plenty of snaps again, even on short rest.
If Peterson is able to become the focus of attention, Stanton can use play-action against the aggressive Seahawks and target standout receiver Larry Fitzgerald. If the Cardinals cannot establish the run, Stanton's winning streak could be in trouble.
On defense, the Cardinals won't be too concerned about the Seahawks' run game because it barely exists. Instead, the key will be containing the edges against Wilson, who is at his best throwing on the run and finding help deep down the field. If the Cardinals plan to play a spy against Wilson, it could be versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu or even hyperactive rookie playmaker Budda Baker.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson vs. Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner. Wagner has been dealing with a hamstring problem and Peterson may be less than 100 percent coming off 37 carries (159 yards) last Sunday. But these two warriors will be riled by the challenge. Peterson showed he is still very capable of breaking off big runs; and, if he meets Wagner in open space, it will be interesting.
--Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson. Baldwin is Seattle's top receiver and will draw occasional coverage from Peterson in man-to-man situations. Baldwin has managed 100-yard receiving games in three of Seattle's last five meetings against Arizona.
--Cardinals RT Jared Veldheer vs. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett. Veldheer has blocked much better after a seriously poor start to the season, but must be on his "A" game to handle Bennett, even if Bennett is nursing a heel injury. Bennett has 6.5 sacks and has the bull-rushing moves that made Veldheer prone to giving up quarterback pressures and hits.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Seahawks DE Dion Jordan. Jordan hasn't played in a regular-season game in nearly three seasons, but he could make his debut for the Seahawks in Arizona. The former No. 3 overall pick of the Miami Dolphins has missed the last two seasons due to suspensions and injuries.
FAST FACTS: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson passed for 350 yards, four TDs and no INTs in the last meeting. He has 8 TDs vs. 0 INTs in the past four at Arizona. ... DE Michael Bennett had a sack in the last meeting and aims for his fifth in a row vs. the division with a sack. ... In 12 career meetings, CB Richard Sherman has collected seven INTs, including a 19-yard INT-TD. ... S Kam Chancellor totaled 24 tackles in the past two meetings. ... DE Dwight Freeney has three sacks in two games with Seattle. ... Cardinals QB Drew Stanton passed for 201 yards and two TDs last week and has thrown six TD passes vs. two INTs in his past five starts vs. the NFC West. ... RB Adrian Peterson is coming off a 150-yard rushing performance Sunday. In four career Thursday games, he has 354 yards rushing and four TDs. ... WR Larry Fitzgerald led the team with 70 yards receiving last week and has 14,953 yards in his career. He surpassed Tim Brown (14,934) to move to sixth all-time. ... LB Chandler Jones ranks fourth in the NFL with nine sacks and leads the league with 14 tackles for loss. In three career meetings, he has 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. ... S Tyrann Mathieu has 16 tackles and a sack in his past two home games. ... S Tyvon Branch leads NFL safeties with 66 tackles.
PREDICTION: Both teams have athletic defenders with evil intent. It's unclear whether Arizona's top offensive playmakers -- Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald -- can overcome their age on a short week. This is one of those matchups that the Cardinals take personally after a series of frustrating games at home against the Seahawks.
OUR PICK: Cardinals, 28-21.
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