Countdown to Kickoff

Greetings from University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Seahawks will play a gotta-have-it game against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks’ season is not over if they lose today, obviously. This is only their ninth game. But achieving their goals will all but slip away if they can’t find a way to upset the Cardinals.

With a win, the Seahawks would be one game behind the Cardinals. With a loss, well, they’ll be 3-6 and heading to Minnesota next week to face the Vikings.

This is a matchup of a team that hasn’t been able to win on the road (the Seahawks are 0-3) against a team that has had problems winning at home (the Cardinals are 1-3).

The Seahawks get left tackle Sean Locklear back today for the first time since he got a high ankle sprain in Week 2. That should help with the pass protection for Matt Hasselbeck, who was sacked five times and hit nine times in the Cardinals’ 27-3 victory at Qwest Field in Week 6.

Speaking of pass protection, the Seahawks have to find a way to disrupt – if not sack – Kurt Warner. The Cardinals’ QB can hold the ball longer to allow his receivers to get open because he gets rid of the ball so quickly. If the Seahawks can make him move, rather than just sit in the pocket, it will help in defusing Arizona’s potent passing attack.

The one thing the Seahawks cannot do is get off to a slow start. They have fallen behind 17-0, 14-3 and 17-0 in their past three games.

It’s a gorgeous day in the other reaches of The Valley of the Sun – Glendale – with the forecast calling for a high of 69 degrees. But it’s all relative. A half dozen times since we arrived yesterday people have apologized to me because it’s so cold here.

We’ll be back later with the inactives.


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