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Monday, 22 December 2014

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: 3 Things We Learned

For the Seattle Seahawks, Santa Claus came early when they found out that they would be facing a third string quarterback in Ryan Lindley on Sunday night.

Predictably, the Cardinals struggled to do anything on the offensive side of the ball.

The Seahawks' offense was efficient against a tough Cardinals defense. Because of their defense, however, Russell Wilson and the offense don’t have to be much of anything.

As the 2014 season draws ever closer to the end, let’s take a look at what we learned on Sunday Night Football about two of the league’s contenders.

Playoff scenarios

The NFC playoff picture became a little more clear on Sunday. The final seeding will not be determined until next week, but for the most part we know who the teams will be.

The only NFC team that has clinched their division is the Cowboys in the East.

The Lions, Packers, Cardinals and Seahawks have all secured a playoff spot. Their matchups in Week 17 will determine where each of these teams will land in the tournament bracket. 

The winner of the Falcons and Panthers game in Atlanta will determine the winner of the NFC South and that team of course will host a playoff game on Wildcard Weekend as well.

Click here to see the standings and playoff scenarios.

Winning without much Lynch (Except that one run...)

Halfway through the fourth quarter, Marshawn Lynch only had 34 yards rushing. The tone-setter for the Seahawks offense has missed time due to injury, and on Sunday was out early with a reported stomach illness.

The decline in Lynch’s overall role has mirrored the rise in quarterback Russell Wilson’s role. Slowly, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel has handed more and more of the offense over to Wilson, and he has delivered so far.

The running game is still clearly the heartbeat of Seahawks the offense, and not much goes without it. However, when Wilson had to be accurate against the Cardinals, he put the ball on target and moved the chains.

If you went to bed early during this game, do yourself a favor and find the highlight reel with Marshawn Lynch's career-high 79 yard touchdown run late in the game. I will emphasize that this section related to Lynch's overall role, but of course he was Seattle's finisher on Sunday night. 

Cardinals need a quarterback – healthy Carson Palmer or just about anyone else.

Carson Palmer goes down for the year and then the Cardinals lost Drew Stanton last week. What could be worse for a football team?

The Arizona Cardinals (and the Buffalo Bills too for that matter) are an above average quarterback away from playing in a Super Bowl. They actually have that quarterback on the roster in Palmer, but he isn’t likely a long-term answer at age 34.

Look for Arizona to attempt to take a quarterback in next year’s draft and develop him under Palmer. The Cardinals’ defense is a winning unit. 


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