Week 1: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackRussell Wilson did not have the pedigree of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, but he will be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback. The third-round pick beat out Matt Flynn because of his poise, athleticism and accuracy.Ken Whisenhunt still had not made an official selection at quarterback. John Skelton and Kevin Kolb seem to have little to offer at this point and it seems likely that Skelton has the better chance to improve at this point.
- OffenseThe Seahawks should be able to take some of the pressure off of their rookie quarterback with the running game. Marshawn Lynch is coming off a 1,204-yard season and is ready to meet or exceed those numbers. Sidney Rice is the best receiver of an ordinary group.If the Cardinals can get any kind of positive traction from quarterback, they have one of the best receivers in the game in Larry Fitzgerald. Todd Heap can go up and get it in third-down situations. Beanie Wells gives them solid production from running back.
- DefensePete Carroll understands defense and the Seahawks showed steady improvement in that area last year. Red Bryant seals the edge on the run while Chris Clemons had another double-digit sack season.The Cardinals have to look at their team and realize that the defense must carry the team. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton depends heavily on Calais Campbell to put pressure on the quarterback and he gets help from Darnell Dockett.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks were not overly effective on special teams in 2011, but they have two excellent special teamers in Leon Washington and Michael Robinson. Placekicker Steven Hauschka and punter Jon Ryan are a solid duo as well.Patrick Peterson is 2012-speak for Devin Hester. Peterson is coming off a season in which he returned four punts for touchdowns. Like Hester, it seems Peterson can take it to the house any time he wants.
The checkmarks may be even, but you have to favor the Seahawks because the Cardinals are so moribund at the quarterback position. That sounds strange considering the Seahawks are going with a rookie third-rounder, but Wilson earned the spot because he can put the ball on the money. That’s what the position is all about.