When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m. PDT, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Records: Seahawks were 4-0 in the preseason and 7-9 last season; Cardinals were 1-4 and 8-8
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13), with Sam Rosen, Heath Evans and Heidi Androl
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers at Packers; Rams at Lions
The Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald: What more can be said about Fitzgerald, the six-time Pro Bowl selection? Well, he needs seven receptions to become the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 for his career. And then there’s this from Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. Nothing that he does surprises me, really, because you just get to a point where you see him do so many things that you’re just like, ‘OK, I expected that.’ But, to be honest with you, a big part of me appreciates what you see him do sometimes. Some of the catches. How hard he works. The way he prepares himself. All of those things I marvel at.” Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor beat Fitzgerald up in the finale last season, but they couldn’t beat him. Despite being limited to one catch for 1 yard in the first half and coughing up blood on the sideline during the second half, Fitzgerald finished with nine catches for 149 yards – including three for 46 yards on the drive to the game-winning field goal in overtime.
One to watch
Seahawks RG J.R. Sweezy vs. Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett: Sweezy, the seventh-round draft choice who was playing defensive tackle at North Carolina last season, has been the surprise – dare we say shock – of the summer. What he’ll get from Dockett will be no surprise at all. The Cardinals’ Pro Bowler plays a very physical game, and also likes to get into his opponents’ heads. Sweezy won’t draw Dockett all the time, as he’ll line up over the center and also on the edge at times. But Sweezy will need to hold his own when he does face Dockett, especially in passing situations because Dockett has more sacks (28.5) than any interior lineman in the league since 2007.
Fun to watch
Russell Wilson vs. the moment: Yes, he’s only a rookie – and a third-round draft choice, at that. Yes, this will be his first regular-season start after he won the starting job with a series of impressive, and productive, stints in the preseason. But you’d never know it by the way this kid carries himself. He is mature beyond his age, and savvy beyond his experience. A big key to his success against the Cardinals will be the offense’s ability to continue running the ball as productive as it did during the preseason, keeping Wilson in situation where he can pass when he wants to, rather than because he has to.
One tough task
Cardinals OTs D’Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie vs. Seahawks rush-ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin: Batiste has not started a game since 2007, while Massie will be making the first start of his rookie season. They’re starting because Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges sustained season-ending injuries during the preseason. Awaiting Batiste and Massie are the player who has generated 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks (Clemons) and the player who was drafted in the first round to provide more speed and relentlessness from the other edge on the nickel line (Irvin).
The Cardinals lead the series 14-12, including a 23-20 overtime victory in Arizona in the finale last season. … Skelton was 5-2 as the starter last season and led six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. He also is 5-0 in career starts at home. … Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson is one of five safeties in NFL history to have 20-plus sacks (22.5) and 25-plus interceptions (26). … The Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson is the only player in league history to have four punt returns of 80-plus yards in one season. … Seahawks leading rusher Marshawn Lynch practiced this week for the first time since experiencing back spasms after the second preseason game. His status will be a game-day decision. If Lynch can’t play, rookie Robert Turbin will start. … The Seahawks will start three other rookies – MLB Bobby Wagner, Wilson and Sweezy. … The Seahawks are 13-23 in their previous openers, but 6-3 since 2003. … Seahawks DT Alan Branch played his first four seasons with the Cardinals before signing with Seattle in free agency last year. … Seahawks TE Zach Miller played at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix and also Arizona State, where he holds the school record for receptions by a tight end (144).