Pete Carroll certainly is no stranger to Carson Palmer, having coached the strong-armed quarterback during his 2002 Heisman Trophy-winning campaign at Southern California. The Seahawks coach didn’t have to plan against Palmer last season due to the latter’s torn ACL, but will get quite the look on Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals pay a visit to Seattle.
“Carson is playing phenomenal football,” Carroll told reporters. “He looks as good as he’s ever looked. He’s in great command of the offense. I think it’s really the best I’ve ever seen him in all the years he’s been out there playing.” The 35-year-old Palmer has thrown an NFC-best 20 touchdowns – including four as the Cardinals won their second straight contest with a 34-20 victory over Cleveland on Nov. 1. Like Arizona, the Seahawks have won two in a row heading into last week’s bye – and a victory on Sunday would move them within one game of the NFC West-leading Cardinals.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Seahawks as 3-point home faves. The total opened at 45 but is down to 44.5.
Cardinals – WR Larry Fitzgerald (Probable, ankle), C Lyle Sendlein (Questionable, shoulder), WR John Brown (Questionable, hamstring), CB Jerraud Powers (Mid November, hamstring), TE Darren Fells (Mid November, shoulder), LB Alex Okafor (Early November, calf), LB Daryl Washington (Our indefinitely, suspension), LB Kenny Demens (I-R, knee), TE Ifeanyi Momah (I-R, knee), DT Corey Peters (I-R, Achilles), TE Gerald Christian (I-R, knee).
Seahawks – WR Paul Richardson (Questionable, knee), T Russell Okung (Questionable, ankle), TE Luke Wilson (Questionable, undisclosed), G Drew Nowak (Questionable, ankle), WR Ricardo Lockette (Out for season, neck), LB Brock Coyle (I-R, knee), CB Tharold Simon (I-R, toe), CB Jeremy Lane (Probable, knee), DT Jesse Williams (I-R, illness).
WEATHER: A 100 percent chance of rain with temperatures in the low-40s and wind blowing across the field at around six mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cardinals (-4.5) + Seahawks (-3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Seahawks -1.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Arizona?’s +110 point differential this year ranks second to only New England; well ahead of undefeated teams like Cincy and Carolina, thanks to a trio of wins by 25 points or more. The Seahawks can get back into contention for the NFC West division crown with a win over Seattle on Sunday Night. The Seahawks beat the Cardinals 35-6 and 19-3 last year.” Covers Expert Teddy Covers.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We moved to -3 after opening at -3.5 within minutes of opening last Sunday. The action favors the underdog slightly so this should be a good game for us either way. Expecting more Seattle money as kickoff approaches so I doubt we move under -3.” John Lester, BookMaker.eu.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS, 6-2 O/U): Veteran running back Chris Johnson has found his niche in the desert by rushing for 676 yards, which is 13 more than last season with the New York Jets. The NFL’s third-leading rusher, Johnson has scampered for more than 100 yards in back-to-back contests and four of his last six outings while his 4.8 yards per carry is his most since his 2,006-yard season in 2009. Veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald hauled in nine receptions last week for the second time in 2015, and his seven touchdown catches are second only to Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (4-4 SU, 2-5-1 ATS, 3-5 O/U): Although his 3.64 yards per carry this season isn’t impressive by any means, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries in Seattle’s 35-6 rout of Arizona on Dec. 21. Russell Wilson rushed for a score and threw for two others in that contest as Seattle amassed a franchise-record 596 yards. Wilson has been held in check for the most part this season, throwing just one touchdown pass in all but one contest while eclipsing 260 passing yards on just one occasion.
* Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Seattle.
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Over is 6-0 in Cardinals last six vs. NFC.
* Seahawks are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. NFC West.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-four percent of Covers users are backing the Cardinals.