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Pasch Factor: Beating Seattle

The formula to topple the Seahawks seems pretty simple, although not easy


In 2012, the Seattle Seahawks made a somewhat surprising decision when they announced that rookie third-round pick Russell Wilson would start at quarterback.

The Seahawks had just given a ton of money to free agent Matt Flynn, and many saw Wilson as an undersized career backup. Wilson made his debut against the Cardinals in the season opener and almost pulled out the victory. His end-zone pass to Braylon Edwards late in the fourth quarter was just off the mark, giving the Cardinals a 20-16 win. That was the last time Wilson lost at

University of Phoenix Stadium against the Cardinals. The Seahawks have won three straight games at Arizona by a combined score of 105-34.

In 2013, Wilson threw three touchdowns and finished with a quarterback rating of 122. Carson Palmer was sacked seven times and the Cardinals were held to 30 yards rushing. Seattle improved its record to 6-1, and went on to win the Super Bowl.

In 2014, the two teams battled for first place in the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cardinals were down to their third-string quarterback and generated no offense, rushing for only 29 yards in a 35-6 rout. Wilson threw for two touchdowns and finished with a 122 quarterback rating again.

Last year, the Cardinals entered the game knowing their playoff standing was all but set. Arizona was likely going to be the No. 2 seed regardless of the result. Still, the Cards played their starters and lost, 36-6, as Wilson threw three touchdowns and had a QB rating of 124. Again the Cardinals failed to run the ball, finishing his with just 27 yards on the ground.

In order to win Sunday night, two things have to happen. Arizona has to run the ball much better than it did the previous three meetings. Also, the Cardinals have to stop Wilson. Arizona is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards. David Johnson leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns and is third in rushing yards. The Cardinals haven't had many explosive plays through the air, so establishing the run will be even more critical. Meanwhile, Wilson has had a quiet start to the season with only five touchdown passes.  If the Cardinals can run the ball, and keep Wilson on the sideline, they have a great chance to get back in the thick of the NFC West race.

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