Cardinals vs. Seahawks 2013 game preview: Arizona hopes to play road spoilers

The Cardinals are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they'll have a tough test on the road in Seattle. Here's the complete game preview.

Week 16 has a critical divisional matchup when the Seattle Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks are trying to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, while the Cardinals need a win to keep their wild card hopes alive. There's a lot at stake in this game.

Meet the Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks shook off a tough road loss to the 49ers and shut out the New York Giants, 23-0. They improved to 12-2 and can clinch home-field advantage with a win this week.

Injuries are starting to pile up for the Seahawks. K.J. Wright had surgery to repair a broken foot bone and will be out for around four to six weeks. Brandon Browner is still out with a groin injury and a pending suspension, and Percy Harvin has had a frustrating setback on his hip and might not return until the playoffs.

Meet the Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals made a fast turnaround under first-year coach Bruce Arians. They improved to 9-5, almost doubling their win total from last season with two games remaining. Unfortunately, they're still on the outside looking in on the wild card picture. The 49ers and Panthers are both one game ahead and Arizona doesn't control their own destiny.

Arizona seems mostly fine on the injury front, but Larry Fitzgerald suffered a concussion in last week's win over the Titans. He hopes to be ready for the game, but needs to pass the league's concussion protocol first.

Local Takes: Seattle Seahawks

A Field Gulls reader attended the Giants game on Sunday and noted how well the Seahawks' fan base travels despite its isolated location:

Bandwagoners or not, a fanbase for one of the most obscure and geographically isolated teams in all of professional sports should not travel like this. Yesterday was ridiculous. I bumped into my first 12 before I even made it out of my neighborhood, waiting in line for coffee. At Penn Station, a Manhattan train station where you catch the New Jersey Transit trains that take you to the Meadowlands, Seahawks jerseys were everywhere. At the Seacaucus, NJ stop (SEA! CAUCUS!) a hundred more piled on. It would have been nauseating if it were any other team, but it's us.

For reasons likely pertaining to playoff elimination and ominous weather on Saturday, the game was woefully underattended. The diehards, to their credit, showed up in earnest. Lots of good Giants fans in the building. Just...lots of bad Giants fans were not. Perhaps the biggest sign of things to come was the reception the Seahawks received on their way out of the tunnel. A far cry from the deafening boos that opponents receive in our building, a spirited cheer arose from the 12s in attendance that only got louder as the team ran out. Loose, cocky, energetic. A sight to behold.

Local Takes: Arizona Cardinals

Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds thinks rookie Andre Ellington is already one of the most explosive backs in the league.

Ellington, when he carries the ball in the running game, goes for at least 10 yards almost one in every four carries. That is far and away the most.

That is a testament to his talent, but it also says a lot about how the team uses him. Clearly, he would not put up those kind of numbers if he were to get 20-25 carries a game. That just isn't sustainable. However, the Cardinals have been masterful at giving him the ball in situations where he can make big plays.

Shaun called Ellington Andre Elusive. I prefer "Big Play" Ellington -- or BP.

If he can continue to have this sort of impact on offense, Cardinals fans are going to have a lot to cheer for over the next several years.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Field Gulls and Revenge of the Birds, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@FieldGulls
@revengeofbirds

Odds

The Seahawks are favored by 12 points, according to OddsShark.

Next Week

Seattle vs. St. Louis, Dec. 29, 4:25 p.m. ET
Arizona vs. San Francisco, Dec. 29, 4:25 p.m. ET

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