The Arizona Cardinals are coming off two good wins against two bad teams, now the undefeated Seattle Seahawks come to town for the toughest matchup of the season. Division games in the NFC West are crucial and this is a great measuring stick game for the Cardinals. Let’s see what the should continue to do, what they need to fix, and take a look at what’s going on in Seattle.
What they should to continue
Vance Joseph has rightfully gotten a lot of flack since being hired for what seems like a vanilla defensive scheme. Whatever he did this past Sunday needs to continue, as you can tell the energy of the defense was exceptional. The Cardinals haven’t faced any real offensive juggernauts this season, but you can only beat who you play. They currently rank ninth in defensive DVOA (which accounts for opponent difficulty), seventh in sacks, fifth in points allowed, and second in redzone TD %. With the loss of Chandler Jones, it seems that Joseph called a more aggressive gameplan, with most of the defensive line seeing success this past week.
What they have to fix
The Cardinals lead the league in penalties with 49 through six games (interesting stat, the Saints actually have the most penalty yards against, and they did that in only 5 games). The major issues have included:
- Eight false starts
- Three intentional grounding
- 12 defensive pass interference/holding
- Three defensive “too many players”.
Many of those penalties are directly on the coaching staff, especially the league leading 11 pre-snap penalties. This is a trend that hasn’t improved as time has gone on as you can see below.
What they have to watch out for
The MVP frontrunner
This is a new era, where the Seattle defense is actually nothing to fear, they rank 26th in defensive DVOA and they’ve allowed the second most passing yards in the league. What you’re seeing this year is Russell Wilson at the top of the running for MVP and playing at a ridiculous rate. The emergence of second year receiver DK Metcalf has been a big reason for the effectiveness of this offense. Here are a bunch of stats on the offense that should worry Cardinals fans:
- #1 in offensive DVOA
- #1 in passing Touchdowns
- Wilson is #1 in QBR
- Wilson has the highest yards/attempt
- Metcalf leads the league in yards/reception
The offense is humming and coming off a bye week, the game has been flexed to SNF and should hopefully provide a little more excitement then the last time the Seahawks visited the Cardinals on SNF in 2016.