Matchup: Seahawks vs. Cardinals

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field

Records: Seahawks and Cardinals are 3-2 and tied for first in the NFC West

TV: KCPQ/13, Chris Myers and Brian Billick

Radio: 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Matchup microscope

Seahawks defense vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald: The matchup the Cardinals would prefer is rookie CB Walter Thurmond – who could make his first NFL start because Kelly Jennings has a sore hamstring – against Fitzgerald. But regardless who is covering Fitzgerald on any given snap, the entire defense needs to help out. Generating pressure on rookie QB Max Hall definitely will help. So will taking away Hall’s other options, especially with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet expect to return from injuries. But at the moment of truth, the truth is that Fitzgerald is one tough dude to cover. As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put it this week, “I don’t know that anybody can catch the ball better than him, or if anybody ever has.”

One to watch

Seahawks SS Lawyer Milloy vs. Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson. This isn’t head-to-head, of course, but it is mano-a-mano. Wilson became the 10th player in NFL history to register 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career last December. Milloy joined the 20/20 club last week. Milloy leads the Seahawks in tackles (32). Wilson is fourth among the Cardinals in tackles (29). Wilson always has been a wild-Card because you never know where he’ll line up prior to any given snap. Milloy was spotted at various locations in last week’s big win over the Bears. The “winner” here will go a long way in determining who win the game.

Fun to watch

Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck vs. Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett: These two have had memorable run-ins – and even rub-ins – before. Dockett delights in chatting up Hasselbeck on the field and has been known to use some extra-curricular tactics, with Dockett providing the extra and parts of Hasselbeck’s anatomy being use as the curricular. The best way for Hasselbeck to get the best in this one is to get rid of the ball before Dockett can get to him.

One tough task

A rookie QB making his first road start in the NFL. An offensive line that features three new starters from the unit that played in Seattle last Oct. 18 – including former seventh-round draft choice Brandon Keith at right tackle – and has allowed 13 sacks in the past two games. The din generated by the fans at Qwest Field, where opponents have been flagged for a league-leading 99 false-start penalties since the start of the 2005 season. If that doesn’t sounds like one tough task …

Notable

The game matches the past six winners of the NFC West, as the Seahawks finished first from 2004-07 and the Cardinals won the division the past two seasons. … Fitzgerald has 35 receptions for 454 yards and four touchdowns in his past four games against the Seahawks – all Cardinals victories. … Cardinals FS Kerry Rhodes has returned fumbles 42 and 27 yards for touchdowns. … Hasselbeck is 16-5 in his past 21 starts at Qwest, including 2-0 this season. … Seven of the eight turnovers the Seahawks have forced this season came in their two home games. … The Seahawks rank second in the league in average rushing yards allowed (70.4) and per-carry average (2.9). … Leon Washington leads the NFL with a 37-yard average returning kickoffs.


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