The Arizona Cardinals have wrapped up a postseason berth and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs when they host the surging Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Although the Cardinals hold a one-game lead over Seattle atop the NFC West, the Seahawks can take control of the division race and move into the mix for the No. 1 overall seed with a victory. Seattle beat Arizona 19-3 on Nov. 23 to start its four-game winning streak.
The Cardinals are down to their third-string quarterback after Drew Stanton was injured in last week’s 12-6 win at St. Louis, leaving Ryan Lindley to make the start against the reigning Super Bowl champions. “Just be himself,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said of Lindley. “Just take the game plan and execute it. Throw it accurately and don’t try to be a hero and force things. But, don’t play scared, play smart.” That might be easier said than done again Seattle, which has permitted only 27 points over its last four games.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: Most shops opened the Cardinals as 7.5-point home dogs. In some instances that moved to +8, but had been bet back to +7.5. The total opened at 38 and is down to 36.5.
INJURY REPORT: Seahawks – TE Cooper Helfet (Probable, ankle), WR Paul Richardson (Probable, hamstring), Tony Moeaki (Questionable, shoulder). Cardinals – S Tyrann Mathieu (Probable, thumb), G Paul Fanaika (Probable, ankle), LB Larry Foote (Probable, knee), WR John Brown (Questionable, toe), G Jonathan Cooper (Out, wrist).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Seahawks (-6.0) – Cardinals (-4.5) + home field (3.0) = Cardinals -1.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Seahawks have won four straight games and remain a game behind the Cardinals and are at Arizona this Sunday night. 20-7-1 ATS L28 games vs. winning teams. Arizona may have won in St. Louis but it lost another quarterback and Ryan Lindley will get the start against Seattle. 13-3 ATS L16 games following a win.” Covers Expert Matt Fargo.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (10-4 SU, 7-6-1 ATS, 7-7 O/U): The blueprint from last season’s Super Bowl championship is starting to look eerily similar for Seattle, which ranks first in total yards (272.4) and passing yards (184.3) allowed and has been especially suffocating over the four-game run. “The hungrier team’s gonna win,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “And that tends to be us. We’re hungry.” Running back Marshawn Lynch, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns in each of the past four seasons, was limited to 39 yards on 15 carries in last month’s meeting versus Arizona, but Russell Wilson overcame seven sacks to throw for 211 yards and a TD to go with 73 yards rushing.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (11-3 SU, 10-4 ATS, 4-9-1 O/U): Arizona managed only 204 total yards against the Seahawks last month and will be in a tough spot with Lindley, who enters his fifth NFL start – and first since 2012 – with career numbers of zero touchdowns and seven interceptions. “Ryan is prepared,” Stanton said. “Everyone wants to look at his numbers and they aren’t glamorous, but there are a lot of guys, myself included, that went in there and didn’t have success at a young age.” Kerwynn Williams has provided a lift by rushing for 175 yards in two games since Andre Ellington went down with a hip injury but the offense continues to struggle, averaging 12.8 points over the last five games.
* Over is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings in Arizona.
* Seahawks are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games in December.
* Cardinals are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games.
* Under is 8-0 in Seahawks last eight games in December.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 54 percent of bettors are backing the Cardinals.