Marshawn Lynch has been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup in Arizona against the Cardinals. It doesn’t mean much as both teams have playoff spots locked up, although seeding will be on the line for both sides.
Lynch’s absence will still be felt Sunday as Saint Louis showed the rest of the league how difficult it can be for the Seahawks to score points without a running attack. For all the excitement that Christine Michael generated in his return to Seattle against the Browns, he was brought back to Earth in Week 16. Although against, that Rams defensive line, not many running backs would be successful.
After the loss, the Seahawks need to gain momentum heading into the Wild Card game, and Arizona won’t be an easy opponent. They too sport a talented line, with veterans Red Bryant and Dwight Freeney leading a unit that has allowed the fourth fewest yards on the ground.
Lynch’s status is still uncertain for the playoffs, as he is rehabbing his sports hernia in the Bay Area. "I would think he could make it back," Pete Carroll said. "That’s what we hear. It’s really up to that day to day kind of progression that he’s making. So there’s a lot of days between next week starting up. We’ll see what happens.”
Even if Lynch returns and is not his usual Beast Mode self, his name on the active roster forces opposing coaches to account for him. With him out of the lineup, teams can instead focus all their efforts on thwarting Russell Wilson.
On the other side of the ball, it looks like Kam Chancellor could be out yet again for the Seahawks. That’s additional bad news as the Cardinals feature a receiving corps as talented as any in the league.
Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown have combined for 215 passes for 2,951 yards and 21 touchdowns this year, leading the way towards being the third ranked passing attack while they are only 21st in the number of attempts.
Last week Richard Sherman got burned by Justin Britt, and against the Cardinals Sunday he will need as much help as he can get as Carson Palmer likes to show off his big arm and throw deep. It will be imperative that the Seahawks generate a strong pass rush and not allow Arizona’s receivers to get down field for Palmer.
Sunday will be a good indicator for how prepared the Seahawks are for a playoff run. They are likely to be short-handed, therefore it will be interesting to see how they perform against a Cardinals team that can do everything well.
Photo: Flickr/Keith Allison