Life is hard in the NFC West. So hard that playing four games over .500 may not be good enough to get you to the playoffs. That’s exactly what happened to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 season.
Despite finishing with a 10-6 record Arizona could not qualify for the postseason thanks to the Seahawks and 49ers finishing higher in the division standings, but Arizona played Seattle as well as any team in 2013.
In their first meeting the Seahawks beat Arizona handily on their home field, 34-22. The game was not as close as the final score suggests. But then in December the Cardinals came to Seattle and ended the Seahawks’ two year home winning streak. Arizona strangled Seattle’s offense in a defensive slugfest that saw both quarterbacks with a passer rating under 50.
Now the Cardinals are eager to get another shot at the champs. Appearing on First Take last week, defensive end Calais Campbell said that the Seahawks were lucky that they missed the playoffs:
“Last year, Seattle was happy we didn’t get to the playoffs, they knew if we got in, we would have been a tough team to beat.”
Campbell sacked Russell Wilson twice in the December meeting. It was unquestionably the worst offensive performance that the Seahawks put on during the 2013 season. Since then the Cardinals have made several upgrades to their already nasty defense. In March they signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie and also added veteran linebacker Larry Foote.
Paired with the development of the dynamic running back Andre Ellington I believe the Cardinals will represent the toughest challenge for the Seahawks in the NFC West this coming season.