Seattle @ Arizona
Power rankings: Seattle 14, Arizona 11
Line update: The line shifted to Seattle +5.5. #getyourdamnbetsinearly
When the Seahawks have the ball:
The Seahawks offense is 7th in DVOA and 14th in EPA/play. Russ Wilson is 20th in PFF passing grades (70.4), completes 65.2% of his passes (0.2% above expectation), and gains 7.7 yards per attempt. It's been well documented on this website that Wilson has been a shadow of himself since returning from an ugly finger injury week 10. He's looked Wilson-esque in two games, both against defenses that are total dust -- week 14 against Houston and last week against Detroit. Beating up on bad defenses the way Wilson did DOES matter, so I'm not saying to throw out the results, but it is worth noting for context. He plays behind a below average offensive line, ranking 14th in ESPN's pass block win rate metric and 29th in run block win rate. They've also been without RT Brandon Shell (shoulder) since week 13 -- he's certainly nothing special, but replacement Jake Curhan, an undrafted rookie out of Cal, has been a step down. The receiving duo of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf is elite, but the options behind the two are non-existent. Rashaad Penny, the 27th overall selection in the 2018 draft, has finally stepped into the lead role due to injuries, but he's performed well. Behind an offensive line that struggles in the run game, he's averaging 4.18 yards after contact per attempt, which is best in the league. Stone age Pete Carroll prefers a run first attack, the Seahawks rank 21st in situation neutral early-down pass rate. Both parts of the offense have played well, ranking 10th in DVOA throwing the ball and 7th running it. The Cardinals defense is an impressive 6th in DVOA and 4th in EPA/play. They blitz 33.2% of the time, 4th most in the league, but only generate pressure at 25.5% rate (13th best) and rank 14th in ESPN's pass rush win rate. Blitzing Russ is generally a bad strategy, and teams have noticed. He's the 5th least blitzed QB in the league and has the 9th best PFF passing grade when he is blitzed. They'll also be without DT Jordan Phillips (knee), who is a solid interior pass rusher. The stars of the is the edge, led by Chandler Jones (43 pressure) and Markus Golden (42). They did activate JJ Watt (shoulder) from IR, but he won't play. The line is even worse against the run, ranking 23rd in run stop win rate. SS Budda Baker is the glue that holds everything together in the secondary, he's effective in both the run game and coverage. They've been banged up at corner, left to start players like Breon Borders (2017 UDFA) and Antonio Hamilton (2016 UDFA). It's an example of the players being less than impressive, but the coaching staff is doing a fantastic job. What matters most is their efficiency metrics as a unit, and the Cardinals defense is playing well. There are zero weaknesses to exploit -- they rank 6th in pass defense DVOA and 5th in run defense DVOA.
The Cardinals on offense are 13th in DVOA and 5th in EPA/play. Kyler Murray is 3rd in PFF passing grades (88.3), completes 69.0% of his passes (4.2% above expectation), and gains 8.0 yards per attempt. Murray has an insane 8.4% "big time throw" rate from PFF, a metric that highlights impressive throws. Jameis Winston is second in the league with a rate of 7.1%. However, he's been far more turnover prone since returning from injury week 13 -- time will tell if that's going to continue moving forward. He plays behind a below average offensive line that ranks 15th in pass block win rate and 23rd in run block win rate. He's also without DeAndre Hopkins (knee), leaving Christian Kirk and old man AJ Green is the top receiving options. As for the run game, James Conner is questionable with a knee injury, and Chase Edmonds (ribs) is out. An elite quarterback and a bad offensive line should leave no surprise that the Cardinals are far better passing the ball (6th in DVOA) than running (23rd). Kliff Kingsbury knows it too -- the Cardinals rank 6th in the NFL in situation neutral early-down pass frequency. The Seahawks on defense are 25th in DVOA and 22nd in EPA/play. Their line is 19th in pass rush win rate and will be without DE Carlos Dunlap (ankle). They're 2nd in run block win rate, but are without DT Al Woods (COVID-19) and LB Bobby Wagner (knee). DJ Reed Jr has been a surpisingly solid corner -- QBs have a rating of 67.3 when targeting him. Quandre Diggs is also a solid safety, but the rest of the secondary is below average. They are far better against the run (8th in DVOA) than the pass (27th).