The feathers will be flying in Arizona Sunday.

When the Seahawks invade the Arizona desert for a rematch with the Cardinals Sunday, they face what can only be called a must win game.

There’s some good news and bad news facing the Seahawks. The bad news is that they have played two lousy games in a row, and were lucky to beat the Cardinals three weeks ago in Seattle. The good news is that they look like they may get some players back from the injury list, most notably quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The other bad news is that they have to hit the road again, which hasn’t been kind to them this decade, and are facing an Arizona team looking for revenge also staring down the barrel of a must win.

Looking at the NFC West standings the Seahawks are still tied for first with St. Louis at 4-4. The Cardinals are right behind them at 3-5. The NFC West is anything but a premier division in football, but the rules still say whatever team muddles its way through to win it gets to host a playoff game. Will 8-8 win the division? 9-7? It is hard to imagine any of the three contenders managing a record much better than that.

Looking ahead to the second half the Cardinals may be in the cat seat. Starting Sunday they have five remaining home games against teams with a combined win percentage of .325. Their three road games are against juggernauts with a win percentage of .333. Comparatively, Seattle has four remaining road games against teams with a .485 win percentage and their four home opponents sit at .500. The Rams are stuck with five road games, and they are 0-3 on the road so far against teams with a .415 percentage, and while they still have three home games those opponents are going at a .541 win percentage. Clearly Arizona has the easiest road ahead.

If the Seahawks lose and fall into a tie with the Cardinals they could end up chasing them the rest of the season. Beating Arizona, and winning the games they should win in the weeks after, could set up a game for all the NFC West marbles against the Rams on the last day of the season.

So what do they have to do? The answer seems simple. They are facing a team that has struggled to stop the opposition, has turned the ball over a lot, and can’t seem to decide who to play at quarterback. The Hawks need to run the ball, take care of the ball, and get to the quarterback. The worry? The Hawks have brought stinking to new heights the past two games. They can’t run, pass or stop anyone right now.

Maybe the dry desert air will be good for Hasselbeck, maybe Russel Okung will play and get the running game going and maybe the Seahawks defense will come to life and shut down the Cardinals . All of these things will need to happen if they expect to win, and win they must. A loss Sunday and all the talk will be about how to build for next season.


The Seahawks get some beef back this week, but the Cardinals have given them fits the past few seasons. Three weeks ago the Cardinals found a way to run the ball, and if it weren’t for the mess that is Max Hall at quarterback they could have easily beaten Seattle. They start Derek Anderson on Sunday and that should be enough for them to slip by Seattle.

Arizona 24 Seattle 20

Sports Seahawks hope to set Cardinals feathers flying in Arizona