GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Seattle Seahawks must love the desert.
They’ve beaten coach Bruce Arians’ Arizona Cardinals three of the past four times they’ve played there. The exception was last season’s excruciating 6-6 tie, a Sunday night game in which Arizona and Seattle missed chip-shot field goals that would have won the game in overtime.
“It was old-time football,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “I’ve never been in a game with 97 snaps on offense and you only score six points.”
It’s the latest matchup between NFC West foes where home field doesn’t seem to mean much. The Cardinals have won in three of their past four trips to Seattle, but the Seahawks have dominated in Arizona.
The Seahawks (5-3) will be favored again when they face the Cardinals (4-4) on Thursday night, with Seattle’s tough defensive front aiming to stop Adrian Peterson, who literally is carrying the offensive load since coming to the Cardinals.
With quarterback Carson Palmer out with a broken arm, Arizona is leaning on Peterson even more.
Thursday night’s game comes just four days after the 32-year-old running back carried a career-high 37 times for 159 yards in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at San Francisco.
“I’m feeling good,” Peterson said on Wednesday. “My body’s feeling fresh. I’m ready to roll. I’m sure they are as sore as us, so it’s going to be a battle of will.”
The Seahawks are coming off a home loss to Washington.
“We took a step back last week,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t play like we wanted to, but over the last month or so, we’ve been playing pretty good football. We’re moving in the right direction.”
Seattle not only has to play on short rest but must travel to play the game.
“If you’re going to play on Thursday night,” Arians said, “home is a huge advantage.”
The Cardinals, whose wins have come against teams that are a combined 5-21, will need all the advantages they can muster.
The Seahawks had several players miss practice in the short week because of injuries. Most will probably play, but running back Eddie Lacy (groin) and defensive end Marcus Smith (concussion) are out, and safety Earl Thomas (heel) is listed as doubtful.
Here are some things to consider when Seattle faces Arizona:
The teams got rid of the kickers who missed those field goals in last season’s 6-6 tie – Seattle’s Stephen Hauschka and Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro – and figured they had upgraded.
But Seattle’s Blair Walsh missed three field goals in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. And 42-year-old Phil Dawson, one of the most consistent kickers in recent years, has missed six for Arizona, equaling his misses for the previous two seasons combined.
Four of Dawson’s misfires have come from 40 yards and in.
After his workload on Sunday, Peterson was in the cold tub, then did a cardio workout and some “body work” in the weight room.
“I know Tuesday was the day I’d really feel pain,” he said. “So yesterday (Tuesday) I was a little more sore. But coming in today I felt good, felt fresh.”
Is Peterson ready for 30-plus carries again?
“If that’s what it takes,” he said.
With Lacy out, the Seahawks will rely on Thomas Rawls as their primary ball carrier.
Rawls rushed for a season-high 39 yards last week against Washington. It’s far from an impressive total, but it came on nine carries and the 4.3 yards per carry were a drastic improvement for Seattle’s run game.
Fountain of youth
Dwight Freeney learned a lot two years ago when he was asked to join the Cardinals at midseason and contribute right away. So far, that’s paying off for the Seahawks. Freeney has three sacks in two games since joining Seattle. Freeney played 25 snaps against Washington and felt that was about the right number for him at this point.
“I trained pretty hard in the offseason just to stay ready. That’s around the amount I’m used to. I could play more reps, I just don’t know how the recovery is going to be,” Freeney said.
Carroll was bothered this week after Seattle was penalized 16 times against Washington, one off the franchise record in a game. It was the second time in three weeks the Seahawks threatened the team mark after having 15 in a victory over the New York Giants.
Ten of the penalties came on offense, with all five starting offensive linemen picking up at least one. It was a major lack of discipline by the Seahawks, and while Seattle has never been the cleanest team under Carroll, this level of sloppiness is not sustainable.
“We think it is a group thing, obviously, when you have a bunch like this, but it comes down to individual choices and making good decisions and doing things right,” Carroll said.
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