NFL Week 9 Upset Alert: Seahawks Are a Live Underdog vs. Cardinals

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The Seattle Seahawks (5-3) lead the NFC West to start November, but the oddsmakers are still not buying them in this division race.

They also are a 2-point road underdog against the Arizona Cardinals (3-5) at many of the top-rated sportsbooks.

Can the Seahawks complete the season sweep of Arizona and take another step forward to winning this division in stunning fashion?

The Cardinals are known for falling off starting around this time of year, but the first eight games already did not go well for Kliff Kingsbury’s team.

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Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, November 6, 2022 – 04:05 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium

Week 6 Recap: Seahawks 19 - Cardinals 9

We know division rematches can differ wildly from what happened in the first meeting. But it was just three weeks ago when the Seattle defense held the Arizona offense to an opening drive field goal, then zero points on the last 10 possessions. Arizona’s only touchdown in the game was a fumble return on a botched punt by the Seahawks.

It was a very defensive game with both quarterbacks taking at least five sacks. Both had solid rushing numbers too with Kyler Murray taking off for 100 yards and Geno Smith gaining 48 yards. In his first start, rookie running back Kenneth Walker shook loose for a late touchdown, the only offensive one in the game as he finished with 97 yards.

He has been very impressive for the Seahawks in replacing Rashaad Penny. Arizona’s run defense has been average and just allowed a season-high 173 rushing yards to Minnesota.

The Seattle defense holding this offense to three points was stunning since the Seahawks were one of the worst defenses in the NFL through five games. But after this performance, the defense has been impressive against the Chargers and Giants. The defense has also produced multiple takeaways in six straight games, and we just saw the Cardinals turn the ball over a season-high three times in Minnesota.

If the Seahawks can ride the defense again to a good game, we have to accept they are on the right path on that side of the ball too. It was just two seasons ago in 2020 that the Seattle defense underwent a huge change in the second half of the season, turning into one of the league’s best units after being one of the worst. Unfortunately, the offense fell off too.

Does Arizona Flip the Script?

Perhaps the defining quality of the Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray era in Arizona is that the team usually does well in September and October, then falls apart in November through the end of the year.

With Murray at quarterback, the Cardinals are 18-13-1 in games played before November and they are 7-15 after Halloween when Murray apparently turns into a pumpkin. This was in focus last season when the Cardinals turned a 7-0 start into an 11-7 finish with a loss in the first playoff game to the Rams.

But this year, the Cardinals have started 3-5 with a middling offense and a poor defense. Murray just got DeAndre Hopkins back the last two weeks, and while that helps, he lost wide receiver Marquise Brown to injury for the next several weeks. It would be nice if the Cardinals could have Brown and Hopkins together on the field, but that won’t happen on Sunday.

There is also the fact that Murray is 10-16-1 as a home starter with worse statistics and record than he has on the road (15-12), which is very unusual for a quarterback. This has made the Kingsbury-Murray Cardinals one of the best teams to bet against since 2019:

  • Arizona is 11-17 ATS as a home team
  • Arizona is 9-15 ATS as a favorite
  • Arizona is 5-11 ATS as a hone favorite
  • Arizona is 8-11-2 ATS in division games

With HBO about to follow the Cardinals for Hard Knocks during the season, it would be something for this team to flip the script and have a second-half surge instead of another slump. But it is hard to trust this team to deliver.

Is Geno Smith for Real?

Any quarterback can have a good game in the NFL, or maybe even a good three-week stretch. But we are eight games into the 2022 season and Geno Smith is still leading all quarterbacks with a 72.7% completion percentage and he is No. 4 in QBR (66.6). The last time Geno was a full-time starter was eight years ago and he finished that 2014 season ranked 23rd in QBR (45.8).

This is incredible stuff for a quarterback long since forgotten as a starter in this league. Smith is not doing it the Sam Bradford or Alex Smith way by dinking and dunking and keeping his interception count down for a middling offense:

  • Seattle is No. 4 in points per game and No. 5 in offensive points per drive
  • Seattle is No. 5 in yards per play (6.0)
  • Seattle is No. 10 in third-down conversion percentage (42.4%), which was often a shortcoming of the Russell Wilson era
  • Smith ranks No. 1 in completion percentage Above Expectation according to Next Gen Stats
  • Smith is getting the fourth-lowest YAC per completion (4.4) from his receivers according to Pro Football Reference
  • Smith’s 8.3% bad throw rate is the lowest of all quarterbacks according to Pro Football Reference

Just think how good this offense would be if it wasn’t ranked 31st in red zone touchdown percentage (40.0%), 31st in offensive penalties (60), or tied for the league lead with seven lost fumbles.

We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on this Smith season, but the longer this goes on, the most logical move becomes accepting that he actually is a good quarterback in what is really only his third season as a starter in the NFL. He just needed another chance.

Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Pick and Prediction

It is not uncommon for these teams to split, but Murray is just 2-4 against the Seahawks in his career. That includes a 1-2 home record as Pete Carroll’s team has often found a lot of success in Arizona. It’s actually the home games in Seattle that have been more adventurous over the years.

But this is not Russell Wilson’s team anymore. In the past, you would assume a tight game with the Chargers or Giants, but the Seahawks were able to pull away and win those by double digits the last two weeks.

This team has a formidable running back and wide receiver duo with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and Smith is avoiding mistakes while pushing the ball down the field. With the defense coming around let’s trust the Seahawks to go on the road and complete a sweep of the Cardinals for our NFL picks this Sunday.

NFL Pick: Seahawks ML (+105) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Seahawks ML (+105)
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