The Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks in the first game of Week 7 on Thursday Night Football. This game has early implications for an NFC West that was supposed to be one of the toughest in football, but hasn't quite lived up to the hype yet. The Seahawks hold a one-game lead in the division at 5-1 and have a chance to help bury the 3-3 Cardinals, but both teams have shown some troubling flaws in the early going.
Meet the Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals' big offseason acquisition was at the quarterback spot. They thought they finally had their man when they traded for Carson Palmer, but after one big performance in the season opener, he seems to be getting worse by the week. Through six games, Palmer already has 11 interceptions to seven touchdowns. His supporting cast is not helping him -- the offensive line is still bad and the running game is nonexistent.
Just like last year, Arizona's defense is their saving grace. Daryl Washington made an instant impact upon returning from suspension in their win over the Panthers, and the unit kept them competitive against the 49ers. Things got scary when Calais Campbell went down with an apparent neck injury, but he appears to have avoided anything serious.
Meet the Seattle Seahawks
With about a third of the season in the books, the Seahawks' biggest enemy appears to be themselves. The offensive line has suffered a rash of injuries to the starters and the backups haven't been up to par, forcing Russell Wilson to run much more than Pete Carroll would like. Fortunately for Seattle, Wilson remains as elusive and exciting as ever, but he's essentially been on an island with little help from his receivers or blockers. The team needs Russell Okung and Percy Harvin back in the worst way. For now, Carroll will just stick with what's working, and that is feeding Marshawn Lynch.
Seattle continues to be plagued by special teams gaffes. For the second week in a row, a botched field goal led to a defensive touchdown by the opponent. That cost them a win against the Colts, and it nearly led to a home loss to the Titans. The good news is their defense is still one of the best in the league and should continue keeping them in games while the offense tries to get going.
Local Takes: Arizona Cardinals
Robert Norman of Revenge Of The Birds is less than pleased with the regression of Carson Palmer:
Frankly, Palmer wasn't entirely awful. However, Palmer's interceptions are entirely his fault at the beginning of the game and for the entire game he struggled with ball placement. Yes, there are plenty of other offensive woes, but Palmer has to stop forcing the ball and making mistakes.
Local Takes: Seattle Seahawks
Danny Kelly of Field Gulls remains concerned about the offense, but is hopeful that the team can find its identity down the stretch:
Overall, I think that the bones are there and things are getting better, not getting worse, but there is still a lot of tinkering to do. On second viewing, I actually felt a lot better about everything than I did while watching it live. There are some exciting changes going on. Wilson is being forced to be more complete. He's being forced out of the pocket quickly and he's being forced to develop the intermediate range with teams scheming away the deep bombs. I'm legitimately excited to see how things develop on third downs and in this intermediate passing game. I'm guessing some of these bunch routes and spread looks will show up over the next few weeks.
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The Seahawks are favored by 6 points, according to OddsShark.
All but one of SB Nation's gurus picked the Seahawks to win.