Top stats to know: Seahawks at Cardinals

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
11:35
AM ET

Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will try to avenge last season's road loss to the Cardinals.
Week 7 of the NFL season kicks off tonight as the Arizona Cardinals play host to the Seattle Seahawks.

Last season, the Seahawks lost 20-16, in their Week 1 road game against the Cardinals, but avenged that loss at home in Week 14 with a 58-0 drubbing.

Here are some of the storylines for the game.

1. 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. That means the average quarterback playing at home against Seattle is basically producing at a Pro Bowl level this year (Cam Newton, Matt Schaub and Andrew Luck).

To compare, in their three home games this season, the Seahawks have allowed just 11 points per game, and an NFL-best opponents’ Total QBR of 15.

2. Russell Wilson's key for success will be to use play action to set up his pocket passing.

Wilson has attempted 65 throws off play action this season, the second-highest total in the league, and his 93.5 Total QBR on such throws ranks behind only Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.

But Wilson will have to avoid leaving the pocket. Over the last two seasons, no quarterback has thrown more from outside the pocket than Wilson. While he excelled on such throws last season (62% comp pct, 71 Total QBR), his numbers have dropped off this season (53% comp pct, 51 Total QBR).

3. The Seahawks defense will have their hands full with Larry Fitzgerald, who showed signs of his old form last week. He had a season-high 117 receiving yards last week, just the second time in his last 19 games that he’s gone over 100 yards.

Still, Carson Palmer has more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) when throwing to Fitzgerald this season. That continues a trend for Arizona that started when Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season.

4. Over the last two seasons, the Cardinals are 1-7 against their fellow NFC West teams, the worst divisional record of any team in the NFL. However, the only win was the aforementioned win over the Seahawks in last season’s Week 1.

5. A matchup to watch is Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch against the Cardinals rush defense.

Lynch has 487 rushing yards this season, the third-most in the NFL. He’s done a large part of his work in the first quarter with 231 of those rushing yards (more than 47 percent) coming in the first quarter, 47 more than any other player.

But the Cardinals rush defense has been stout this season. They’re only allowing 3.5 yards per rush this season, the fourth-best mark in the league. Consider though that after allowing 79 rush yards per game over the first five weeks this season, the Cardinals were gashed for a season-high 149 yards in last week’s loss to San Francisco.

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