After sustained runs of success, the Seahawks and Cardinals seemed to be staring down similar transition seasons in 2018.
The Cardinals had to replace quarterback Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians, while Seattle dealt with the loss multiple stars from their defense, including cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Michael Bennett and safety Kam Chancellor.
The Cardinals (3-12) did not adequately make up for their losses and sit with the worst record in the NFL, but the Seahawks have managed to reload on the fly. New-look Seattle is coming off a big home win over the Chiefs on Sunday night that clinched its sixth playoff berth in seven seasons.
Many preseason prognosticators thought Seattle would fall short of the postseason this year.
“I don’t know if it’s gratifying, but I’m glad we could prove them otherwise,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re happy we’re playing good ball at the end of the year. We’re going to see how far we can take it.”
As other teams become increasingly pass-happy, the Seahawks continue to be powered by their running game. They lead the NFL in both rushing attempts (500) and yards (2,378) while averaging a healthy 4.8 yards per carry.
Coach Steve Wilks envisioned a similar style for the Cardinals but it never materialized. The team is last in the NFL rushing yards (1,257) and yards per carry (3.8).
“We always talk about this is a new NFL – everybody wants to pass the football,” Wilks said. “I think running the football is good, and when you’re effective, that’s the difference. They do a great job of running the ball. I spoke to the defense this morning. They’re first, we’re last, so we’ve got to do a great job of stopping them.”
LEFT TACKLE OPTIONS
The Cardinals will be down to a third-string left tackle on Sunday after rookie Korey Cunningham was placed on injured reserve with the foot injury he suffered against the Rams. Wilks said the new left tackle will be Will Holden, Joe Barksdale or Zack Golditch.
“Those guys are going to do a great job of rotating (in practice), and we’ll see how it goes at the end of the week,” Wilks said.
Holden played left tackle and Barksdale remained on the right side after Cunningham left the game against Los Angeles. Cunningham was playing for D.J. Humphries, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month with a knee injury.
MAYOWA MISSES PRACTICE
Defensive end Markus Golden (ankle), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (rest day), defensive end Benson Mayowa (neck/back), tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (shoulder) and tight end Darrell Daniels (illness) did not practice on Wednesday. Safety Budda Baker (knee) was limited.
Mayowa, who had three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Rams on Sunday, is expected to play against the Seahawks.
“He should be fine,” Wilks said.
For the Seahawks, wide receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder), defensive end Frank Clark (elbow), guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), safety Bradley McDougald (knee), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique) and guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) did not practice. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (foot), safety Tedric Thompson (ankle), linebacker Bobby Wagner (not injury-related) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) were limited.
HOUSE RE-SIGNED TO PRACTICE SQUAD
Offensive lineman Will House was re-signed to the practice squad. The undrafted rookie free agent was with the Cardinals this offseason and on their practice squad for the first six weeks of the year.
Images of Cardinals fans during the Week 16 contest at State Farm Stadium