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Cardinals vs. Seahawks: What to watch for, keys to the game

Arizona's offensive line has been better in pass protection as of late, but can they hold up against a talented Seahawks pass rush? How will John Skelton perform?

Norm Hall

The Arizona Cardinals are standing on their last leg and if they want any shot at ending the season on a decent note, it will have to start today. CenturyLink Field is never a great venue for opposing road teams, as the Seattle Seahawks feed off of the loud crowd and seem to play at another level at home. Still, it will be up to John Skelton to lead his team past those obstacles and grab the Cards a much needed victory, breaking their current eight game losing streak.

Speaking of Skelton, he is quite obviously the biggest key to how the Cardinals will fare. After being benched halfway through the Falcons game three weeks ago in favor of rookie Ryan Lindley, Skelton has been named the starting quarterback once again. I am sure coach Ken Whisenhunt has him on a short leash, so if he cannot drive the offense down the field for some points, then he may choose to go back to Lindley once again.

If Skelton is to excel, it will take a concerted effort from his offensive line. Since Nate Potter and Bobby Massie became the starting rookie tackle duo, the pass protection has been much better. With that, however, has been a downgrade (if that is even possible) in the run game. The Cardinals have struggled to get truly anything going on the ground with Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell. Look for them to emphasize that aspect of the game against Seattle's talented pass rush today.

Brandon Browner is suspended, Marcus Trufant is out and Richard Sherman may be playing his last game of the regular season today, as he is facing suspension as well. With that, his mind may be a bit focused on other things. The Cardinals need to take advantage of the Seahawks' secondary and get the ball to star receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz has had a total of 5 receptions in the past three games. This is clearly unacceptable for a superstar of his caliber and the team needs to do a better job of getting him the ball.

The last thing Cardinals fans should keep an eye on is the defensive line rotation. It has not been announced if Calais Campbell will pay yet, as he was listed as questionable on the final injury report. On top of that, Darnell Dockett is expected to see less snaps today after his incident with Kerry Rhodes last weekend. Expect David Carter, Nick Eason and Vonnie Holliday to see more time on the field.

Enjoy the game!