What does the NFL schedule maker have against the Arizona Cardinals?
After a 32-20 loss on the road to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, the Cardinals have a quick turnaround to face the first-place Seattle Seahawks Thursday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
The Seahawks come into the game at 5-1 after their 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 5.
The last two times these teams met, in December of last year, Seattle forced eight turnovers (that's not a typo) and handed the Cardinals a 58-0 thrashing (that's not, either) -- the worst loss in the history of the franchise.
But the last time the teams met in Glendale, on Opening Day 2012, the Cardinals prevailed 20-16 behind some late heroics from quarterback Kevin Kolb. Man, that seems like it was way longer than 13 months ago, doesn't it?
Here's what's going on behind enemy lines in Seattle, as the Seahawks prepare for the Cardinals.
Thursday, October 17
• Double Coverage: Seahawks at Cardinals (ESPN.com)
The NFC West gets the honor of kicking off Week 7 with a matchup that will end up either tearing the division apart or sending the Seattle Seahawks even higher above the rest of their counterparts.
Russell Wilson returns to the desert, the site of his first game as an NFL quarterback, while the Arizona Cardinals' offense looks like it's poised to show its true colors.
ESPN.com's Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and Seahawks reporter Terry Blount discuss the Thursday night game.
• Top stats to know: Seahawks at Cardinals (ESPN.com)
The Seahawks have won 11 straight home games, but the bad news for them is this game will be played in Arizona. The Seahawks are just 5-6 on the road over the last two regular seasons. In road games this season, the Seattle defense is allowing more than 20 points per game, while allowing opposing quarterbacks a 69 Total QBR.
• Seahawks tough at night under Carroll (ESPN.com)
Since Carroll became the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, the team is 6-1 in games on Sunday, Monday or Thursday nights.
• Seattle's offense has primetime opportunity to take off (MyNorthwest.com)
Now it's time to see if this team can be dominant in a game it absolutely should win. Yes, that declaration is troublingly bold, especially when you consider that Seattle is playing on the road against a defense that gives it fits at a stadium where the Seahawks are 1-6 since 2006.
• Five things to watch: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (SeattlePI.com)
You'd think after Seattle's 58-0 annihilation the last time these teams met, the Seahawks wouldn't be too worried about Thursday's matchup. In reality, that's not anywhere near the case -- this is the NFL, and this Cardinals team looks much different than it did last year. With a new head coach and a new system, Arizona poses a sizable challenge for the Seahawks. And the result of the game will have far-reaching consequences, as not one team in the NFC West has a record under .500.
• It's a college reunion for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, QB Carson Palmer (Seattle Times)
And when he takes the field Thursday, he'll see a face that led the team that might have been the most critical in getting Carroll to this point in his career — Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.
• Three key factors to watch for in the Seahawks-Cardinals game (Seattle Times)
Arizona's biggest statistical strength, well, runs right up against Seattle's — its run defense, which ranks fifth in the NFL, allowing 90.7 yards per game. Seattle, meanwhile, is second in the NFL in rushing per game at 157.7 yards. The Seahawks have been getting a lot of those yards in an unconventional manner, through the scrambling of quarterback Russell Wilson. But combined with the steadiness of Marshawn Lynch (487 yards in six games) the Seahawks remain effective on the ground. The Cardinals, though, have the ability to limit that ground attack and force Seattle to take more chances through the air.
Wednesday, October 16
• Carroll says Chris Clemons might play (ESPN.com)
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said defensive end Chris Clemons "has a chance" to play Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals after participating in practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
• Forbes: Seahawks' Russell Wilson one of most-liked NFL players (SeattlePI.com)
This is only Russell Wilson's second year in the league, but already the young Seahawks quarterback is one of the 10 most-liked players in the NFL.
• Short week is OK with Richard Sherman (ESPN.com)
"I think it's fun," Sherman said. "I think it's going to be a bunch of fun. You always are looking for your next opportunity on the field, win, lose or draw. You always want to just get right back out there. I think people would rather play than practice, so shoot, it's a lot of fun for us."
• Zach Miller back practicing at full speed (ESPN.com)
Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller returned to full participation at practice Tuesday, and likely will return to the starting lineup Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. Miller missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
• Giacomini's return date still a question for Seahawks (MyNorthwest.com)
The question of when Seattle's right tackle might return, however, remains unclear three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove loose particles from his knee. Giacomini had the knee drained last weekend, according to Carroll, in the hopes that will help him return.
• Seattle displaying depth of talented secondary (SeattlePI.com)
Most teams don't possess the depth in the secondary where a starter and former Pro Bowl selection can be given a break such as Browner was. But it's another sign of the depth the Seahawks have built in a secondary that remains among the best in the NFL.
• When 5-1 isn't impressive enough: Seahawks dealing with downside of hype (Seattle Times)
The Seahawks are far from a finished product, but in Carroll's view, the current inadequacies are just part of a long, difficult process. The Super Bowl is in February, not October, for a reason.
During their 5-1 start, the Seahawks have 11 touchdowns and eight field goals on 22 red-zone possessions. Their TD percentage of .500 ties them for 15th in the league. Their scoring percentage of .864 ties them for 18th.
• With Larry Fitzgerald, there's always a catch (Seahawks.com)
Of all the incredible things Fitzgerald has done while catching 107 passes for 1,436 yards and 10 touchdowns in 18 games against the Seahawks, that nine-catch, 149-yard performance was the most impressive as he made like the phoenix from Greek mythology in rising from his own discomfort.
Tuesday, October 15
• Power Rankings: No. 4 Seattle Seahawks (ESPN.com)
Sunday won't go down as the prettiest victory the Seahawks will post this season, but the 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans was good enough to move Seattle up one spot in the weekly Power Rankings.
• A dome is no home for Seahawks now (ESPN.com)
The good news: The Seahawks are 1-1 in dome games this year -- winning 23-20 in overtime at Houston before losing 34-28 one week later at Indianapolis.
The bad news: Seattle is 5-14 in domed stadiums since the start of the 2009 season. And the Seahawks are 1-6 in Arizona's building since the stadium opened in 2006.
• First Look: Arizona (Seattle Times)
Here is our weekly First Look at Seattle's upcoming opponent.
• Seahawks' offense is coming together (Seattle Times)
Sunday, it was center Max Unger who returned to help stabilize the line. Thursday, when the Seahawks play at Arizona, tight end Zach Miller is expected back after missing the past two games.
• Seahawks notebook: Browner benched, but not buried (MyNorthwest.com)
The fact that Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner was benched for the second quarter of Sunday's game spoke to both the concern about his tendency to being beaten on the outside as well as the coach's belief in the talent behind Browner on the roster.
• Seahawks rise back near top of latest NFL power rankings (SeattlePI.com)
ESPN promoted the 5-1 Hawks from fifth in the league last week to fourth on Tuesday, skipping ahead of the Colts (No. 3 last week), who followed their win over Seattle a week ago with a surprise loss to the Chargers on "Monday Night Football." The Seahawks now trail only the No. 1 Broncos, No. 2 Chiefs and No. 3 Saints in ESPN's newest NFL power rankings.
Monday, October 14
• Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 6 (ESPN.com)
The defense held Tennessee to two field goals, and the Titans rushed for only 66 yards on 20 carries. And the Seahawks' defense didn't give up the big plays that have hurt them the past two games. "We cleaned up the things we needed to clean up," said cornerback Richard Sherman, who had one of two Seattle interceptions.
• Seahawks still struggling in the red zone (ESPN.com)
It's becoming a theme for the Seattle Seahawks: They make a lot of mistakes and play without discipline at key points of the game, but have enough talent and make plays at the right moment to usually come out with the victory.
• What we learned from Seahawks' win over Titans (MyNorthwest.com)
The demise of Seattle's defense has been greatly exaggerated.
Tennessee had one play that gained more than 20 yards, its longest run was an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Titans' offense didn't have the ball inside the Seattle 20 until the final 5 minutes.
So much for any defensive struggles, huh?
• Pete Carroll: Seahawks' Percy Harvin is 'getting really close' (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Now that the Seahawks have played through six weeks, wide receiver Percy Harvin is eligible to return from the physically unable to play (PUP) list and get back on the field. But it's not going to happen this week.
The Hawks have a short turnaround from Sunday's win over the Titans before facing the Cardinals on Thursday in Glendale, Ariz. The team has to cram a week's worth of studying the Cards into just a few days, and the players have to work on their off-day before traveling south on Wednesday.
• What we learned: Seahawks pull off close victory over Titans (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
For the first time in quite a while, the Seahawks drew some boos from their fans Sunday. The 12th Man was frustrated and frazzled as the Hawks retreated to their locker room at halftime, down 10-7 after a bizarre play turned a sure-thing Seattle field goal into a Tennessee touchdown.
• Seahawks favored by six at Arizona (Seattle Times)
The Arizona game will be a tricky one to read. Seattle is the better team on paper, but the Seahawks have struggled in the desert, losing seven their last nine there dating to 2004, including a 20-16 defeat in the season opener a year ago, that was also Russell Wilson's first game as an NFL quarterback.