Week 16 NFL Picks Cardinals vs. Seahawks

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 2:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 2:26 PM UTC

It’s been a great comeback season for the Arizona Cardinals. It’ll be even greater if they can overcome the football odds and beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 16 inclusive:

39-31-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

9-17-1 Totals

God bless the NFC West. They’ve produced three very good football teams this year; the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are each 10-4 ATS through Week 15, and all three could make the playoffs when all is said and done. We know the 12-2 Seahawks will be there in some capacity. The road is much steeper for the 9-5 Cardinals, who need to win out and get some help elsewhere. That road starts on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) at CenturyLink Field, where the NFL betting lines have Seattle laying 10.5 points with a total of 44.

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Carson City

Watching the Cardinals recover from last year’s horrible 5-11 campaign has been both entertaining and profitable. Being able to snap up 2012 Coach of the Year Bruce Arians was a fantastic coup, although there’s really not much blame we can lay at Ken Whisenhunt’s feet. The bigger transformative move Arizona made in the offseason was to acquire QB Carson Palmer (86.5 passer rating) from the Oakland Raiders.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Average is much better than awful. People have been writing off Palmer ever since 2007, when elbow and knee injuries began robbing the former No. 1 overall pick of his Pro Bowl form. But Palmer didn’t exactly turn into a pumpkin. He’s been a consistently reasonable performer the past five years, always completing at least 60 percent of his passes and putting up passer ratings in the 80s. This year, Palmer ranks No. 18 in passing DVOA, in the same neighborhood as the likes of Jay Cutler (No. 15) and Sam Bradford (No. 17).

Hello, Larry

Cardinals fans (the sharp ones, at least) were relieved to hear that Palmer didn’t get hurt too badly when he sprained his ankle during last week’s 37-34 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans (+2.5 at home). Arians told reporters on Monday that Palmer suffered a minor sprain and should be fine to face Seattle. Good thing; Ryan Lindley (dead-last in passing DVOA in 2012) is Palmer’s back-up, and one of the main reasons why Arizona was so brutal last year.

The news is a bit more mixed on WR Larry Fitzgerald. He left the Titans game during the overtime frame with a possible concussion, and reportedly felt “out of it” afterward. Fitzgerald says he passed his initial baseline tests, but he’ll have to clear a few more hurdles before being cleared for takeoff on Sunday. Fitzgerald is easily Arizona’s top wideout with 73 catches and 10 touchdowns.

Also make sure to check out our:

NFL Picks: Week 16 NFL Value Picks

Louder Than Bombs

Arizona can’t afford to lose any of its offensive skill players against the Seahawks – especially with the record-setting noise provided by Seattle’s home crowd. The latest efficiency numbers from Football Outsiders have the Seahawks ranked as the third-best team through Week 14 dating all the way back to the beginning of their stats in 1989. Only Washington in 1991 and New England in 2007 rank higher. Seattle also checks in with the league’s top-ranked defense this year, one spot ahead of Arizona.

The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West crown and home-field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl with a win over Arizona, so there’s no reason to expect the ‘Hawks to mail this one in. We might not see WR Percy Harvin (hip) until the playoffs – more news on that is expected after Wednesday’s practice – but Seattle will welcome back CB Walter Thurmond III from his four-game suspension. As if the Legion of Boom really needed any more help.

NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks –10 at William Hill

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