NFL 2018 Season - Week 16
 

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Best Day
by Dennis Ranahan

The Cardinals scored 14 first quarter points against the highly regarded Chicago Bears defense last week, and then couldn’t score another point while turning the ball over four times in their third consecutive loss, 16-14.

After starting quarterback Sam Bradford tossed three interceptions and lost a great scoring opportunity with a fourth quarter fumble, first-year head coach Steve Wilks turned to rookie Josh Rosen to guide his offense.

The energy seemed a bit higher for the Cardinals with Rosen on the field, but the result was the same. A feeble attempt at being recognized as an NFL offense.

This week, Rosen will get his first professional start and it will be against NFC West Division rival Seattle. The Seahawks come to town off a satisfying home win over the Dallas Cowboys. Seattle opened with a pair of road losses to the Broncos and Bears in Denver and Chicago respectively.

The Cardinals are an organization much more identified as a struggling franchise, while the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll have been among the NFL best since 2012. Their success includes two Super Bowl appearances and one Vince Lombardi Trophy. The star in those days is still here, quarterback Russell Wilson, but the real strength of those championship teams, their dominating defense, is gone.

For some reason, even though the Seahawks have known that their offensive line has been a liability even in some of their best years, they have not been able to address the situation in a manner that results in a good offensive line. What Seattle has is turnstyles for defenders chasing Wilson and downing runners in the backfield.

The Seattle Seahawks are in full rebuilding mode, and their talented quarterback can’t do enough to keep Carroll’s team from having a losing record this season. A team with a losing record as a favorite on the road is most often a bad bet.

It appears to be that way this week too.

If the Cardinals were a team near the middle of the league in talent they would have beaten the Chicago Bears last Sunday. The fact that they didn’t, indicates that the Cardinals are a bottom five team, but in beating the point spread, Arizona also distinguishes itself as not a bottom two team.

The Cardinals are at home off a loss with a rookie quarterback and the Seahawks are favored on the road and bet-on by the public. In most cases, a team with a losing record laying points against a division opponent on the road is a low percentage play. Couple that with the Cardinals at home off a loss and the Seahawks on the road off a win and you’ve got a situation where public opinion is driving a point spread against the probable winner.

The Cardinals won’t win many this year, and Rosen may endure all the bumps and bruises the NFL can pile on a rookie quarterback. But on Sunday, in this game, at home against an overrated Seahawks squad in his first start, Rosen will more than likely have the best day of his entire rookie season.

Qoxhi Picks: Arizona Cardinals (+3) over Seattle Seahawks