Good Morning. It will be sunny and about 79 degrees here in Arizona at game time this afternoon, but none of that really matters because the Seahawks will be playing inside at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Here are five keys for the Seahawks (7-8) as they try to finish the season at .500.
Pressure Skelton: The second-year product out of Fordham University has made some plays at the end of games to help Arizona win, evidenced by his four fourth-quarter comebacks. However, like Chicago’s Caleb Hanie a few weeks ago, Skelton is a guy that will turn it over if you get some pressure in his face. So I think Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons could play a huge role in this game in terms of bringing pressure off the edge.
Blanket Fitzgerald: One thing we do know about Skelton is he will force it into Larry Fitzgerald whether he’s open or not. The Seahawks did a nice job against Fitzgerald earlier this season, holding him to five catches for 64 yards, including no catches in the second half. Both Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will be tested today.
A strong finish for Lynch: He has a career-high 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns, and I expect Marshawn Lynch will add to that total today. Arizona’s Beanie Wells also has topped 1,000 yards this season, and I expect the offensive line that dominates the line of scrimmage and helps control time of possession will come out on top.
A playmaking T-Jack: Although Pete Carroll already have given him a vote of confidence for next season, this is Tarvaris Jackson’s last chance to show the Seahawks that he’s the right guy to lead them to the playoffs. He took a step forward in the Chicago game, and then took a step back against San Francisco. We need to see Jackson have a more assertive role in leading this offense, especially during critical moments of the game.
Play a clean game: Any time teams go on the road, they have to limit penalties and turnovers to win. And that will be the case for Seattle as they try to finish at least .500 on the road for the first time since 2006. The Seahawks have done a better job with penalties the past two weeks, with an average of six a game. That needs to continue.
Here’s my advance for today’s game, which includes this nugget from Marshawn Lynch: “We want to finish the season out right. And 8-8 would look a lot better than 7-9.”
Dave Boling of The News Tribune says the Seahawks will continue to play with the same swagger and confidence in the team’s final game of the year.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com previews the game here.
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post says after several tryout with other NFL teams, Brandon Browner was in the right place at the right time in Seattle.
John Czarnecki of Fox Sports says this game will come down to who has the better game running the ball, Marshawn Lynch or Beanie Wells.
Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports picks Arizona to win 17-14 in the video below.