The Arizona Cardinals will be looking to take out some frustration against an NFC West rival in Week 11.
And so will the Seattle Seahawks.
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Both teams were embarrassed in Week 10: The shorthanded Cardinals looked lifeless in a lopsided 34-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers; and the Seahawks were shut out 17-0 by the Green Bay Packers in Russell Wilson’s return to the lineup.
It’s unclear whether Arizona (8-2) will have offensive stars Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins back in uniform in Seattle when the teams meet Sunday, November 21. Neither played in the loss to the Panthers nor the Week 9 win over the San Francisco 49ers due to injury.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said Murray (ankle) and Hopkins (hamstring) remain “day-to-day,” and their availability against the Seahawks likely will be game-time decisions.
Arizona’s lengthy injury report versus Carolina is a big reason players and coaches aren’t panicking following their worst loss of the season. The Cardinals also played without running back Chase Edmonds (who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain against the 49ers) and offensive linemen Justin Pugh (calf) and Max Garcia (Achilles).
“Our guys understand where we’re at and what we’re trying to accomplish. They understand who’s playing, who’s not playing,” Kingsbury told Arizona Sports’ “Wolf & Luke” on Monday, November 15. “We just need to make sure week in and week out we bring the same intensity, same focus, same passion to the field, and none of us felt like we had that (vs. Carolina).”
Defensive lineman Zach Allen said the overall feeling in the locker room following the loss to the Panthers was an eagerness to get back to work.
“I think that’s the mindset right now,” Allen told reporters after the game. “There’s not a lot of ‘woe is me.’ It’s a lot of ‘let’s just get back to work.’ ”
The Seahawks, meanwhile, are running out of time to make a push for the postseason. At 3-6, Seattle has just a 17% chance to make the playoffs following its road loss to the Packers, according to FiveThirtyEight.
An Arizona win in Seattle would slice those odds to just 7% and put the Seahawks’ playoff hopes on life support. A Seattle victory, however, boosts the odds to 29%.
“We understand what that environment is like going up there,” Kingsbury said. “They’ll be rocking. They need this win; we need this win. Both teams are coming off tough losses that I know they weren’t very pleased with.”
As the Cardinals and Seahawks prepare to meet for the first time this season, here’s a look at what went wrong for both teams in Week 10:
Panthers 34, Cardinals 10
The Cardinals essentially rolled out the red carpet for Cam Netwon’s season debut, gifting the Panthers short fields and early momentum with two turnovers and a failed fourth-down conversion on their first three possessions.
The Panthers (5-5) turned those opportunities into 17 points — including a pair of touchdowns from Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP with Carolina who re-signed with the team just three days prior to the game.
Newton, 32, went unsigned after being released August 31 by the New England Patriots. He was given a second shot in Carolina after starting QB Sam Darnold was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
Newton was on the field for only nine plays against the Cardinals but scored on his first two snaps of the game — a 2-yard run and a 2-yard toss to Robby Anderson. The Panthers took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and pushed that advantage to 23-0 by halftime.
Kingsbury said he was troubled by the Cardinals’ sluggish start.
“That was uncharacteristic of what we’ve been so far this season,” he said. “I felt like Carolina came in and played harder, played faster, out-coached us … and we didn’t respond like we had been. We’ve just got to learn from it and be better this week.”
Cardinals QB Colt McCoy struggled in his second start, completing 11 of 20 passes for just 107 yards — along with a lost fumble and an interception — before leaving the game in the third quarter with a pectoral injury. His status also is day-to-day, Kingsbury said.
The Cardinals would love to have Murray back vs. the Seahawks, but they also don’t want to rush his recovery, Kingsbury said. Following the game in Seattle, the Cardinals have a bye in Week 12 before facing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 5.
“We have the bye coming up, and hopefully that gives him more time to recover and hit that home stretch,” Kingsbury said. “If he can play Sunday (in Seattle), he will play, but we want to be smart with him.”
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Packers 17, Seahawks 0
The Seahawks had their starting QB back against the Packers, but things didn’t go well for Wilson at Lambeau Field.
After missing three games with a finger injury, Wilson struggled in his return and threw a pair of end zone interceptions as Seattle was shut out for the first time in his career. He finished the day 20-of-40 passing for 161 yards.
Neither Wilson nor Seahawks coach Pete Carroll used the injury or the QB’s three-game absence as excuses for the loss.
“I felt confident in my hand,” Wilson said. “I felt confident with all the hard work. It was just a bad game in those two plays really. Those really were the defining moments of the game. When you’re playing good football teams, that’s usually what it is. They either go your way or they don’t.”
“He was ready to play,” Carroll added. “And there’s no other information leading into this that could tell us any different.”
There were other problems too. Seattle receiver DK Metcalf was ejected after getting into altercation with Packers players in the fourth quarter. Metcalf later cited being “tired of losing” as the reason for the scuffle.
Despite the Seahawks’ struggles this season, Wilson remains confident the team can turn it around.
“I have 100 percent confidence in our team and what we can do and what I can do and what we’re going to do,” he said.