When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Record: Cardinals were 1-4 in the preseason; 8-8 last season, when they won seven of their last nine games
Where they rank: 18th on offense (14th rushing, 18th passing); 14th on defense (21st rushing, 13th passing) during the preseason
Series: Cardinals lead 14-12; including a 23-20 overtime victory in last year’s season finale that snapped the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak in the series
Star power: Larry Fitzgerald. Everything you need to know about the Cardinals’ six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver played out in last year’s season finale. The Seahawks’ Pro Bowl-laden secondary punished Fitzgerald every time he even got close to catching a pass, as evidenced by the fact that he was coughing up blood on the sideline. But with the game on the line, Fitzgerald was just fine. After catching one pass for 1 yard in the first half, he had three catches for 44 yards in an 80-yard drive to a go-ahead TD in the third quarter; a 41-yard reception in a field-goal drive that gave the Cardinals a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter; and three catches for 46 yards in the 71-yard drive to the game-winning field goal in overtime. Fitzgerald finished the game with nine catches for 149 yards, and the season with 80 receptions for 1,411 yards, a 17.6-yard average and eight touchdowns last season.
Unsung heroes: Dan Williams and David Carter. The Cardinals’ nose tackle tandem – the 327-pound Williams and the 300-pound Carter – performed well during the preseason, and in the opener will test center Max Unger, who would qualify in this category for the Seahawks after his solid efforts all summer. Opponents rushed for an average of 120.4 yards in five preseason games against the Cardinals, while the Seahawks averaged a league-high 178.3 yards – and 5.1 yards per carry.
On the spot: D’Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie. With Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges lost to season-ending injuries, Batiste and Massie with start at tackle for the Cardinals – and against the Seahawks’ new-look nickel line that features sack-leader Chris Clemons and first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin coming off the edges. Massie, a rookie, will be on the right side. Batiste, who has started four games in his career but none since 2007, will be on the left side.
Burning question: Think the Cardinals would like to have Matt Flynn? Last year, the Cardinals overpaid in free agency for quarterback Kevin Kolb, who lost the starting job to John Skelton this preseason. Flynn, who signed with the Seahawks in free agency this year, was good enough during the spring and summer to be the Seahawks’ starter. It’s just that rookie Russell Wilson was even better.
Familiar faces: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton and rookie guard Senio Kelemete played at the University of Washington. Scout Chris Culmer worked for the Seahawks from 2000-08 and scouting assistant Josh Scobey played for the Seahawks in 2005-06.
The last word: “We put a lot of time and effort in making the decision, and we feel like it’s the right decision.” – Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on going with Skelton – who was 5-2 as the starter last season – over Kolb