Sun Dec 22 8:38pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake fends off Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks, left, as he rushes during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake gets past Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright, center, to rush for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Kyler Murray (1) stands on the sideline after leaving with an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley, center, drops to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks fans react after Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, lower left, recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks with quarterback Russell Wilson, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) scores a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson dives for the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs for a touchdown after a reception as Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, left, and defensive end Rasheem Green, right, pursue during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) Kenyan Drake rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns, Larry Fitzgerald added a 21-yard TD reception, and the Arizona Cardinals stymied Russell Wilson and the injury-depleted Seattle Seahawks in a 27-13 win on Sunday.
The Seahawks (11-4) saw their hopes for the No. 1 seed in the NFC potentially vanish with another late-season loss to the Cardinals. Seattle can still claim the NFC West with a win next week over San Francisco, but will need major help to earn total home-field advantage after entering the week as the top seed in the NFC.
Drake had an 80-yard TD run in the first quarter and provided the capper with a 3-yard TD with 4:18 remaining to take a 27-13 lead. Drake’s 166 yards were a season high against Seattle.
The question now is Seattle’s health going into next week. Seattle faced the Cardinals without four key starters: left tackle Duane Brown, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback Shaquill Griffin and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks depth was thinned further when starting running back Chris Carson went down with a hip injury early in the second quarter and backup C.J. Prosise suffered an arm injury only a few minutes later.
Arizona (5-9-1) lost No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray to a hamstring injury midway through the third quarter. Murray was tended to on the sideline after leading a drive that finished with Zane Gonzalez's 46-yard field goal that gave Arizona a 20-7 lead early in the third quarter. Murray scrambled on the final play of the drive for 4 yards and never returned.
The absence of Brown and the lack of a run game left Seattle’s offense stuck in neutral. The Seahawks gained 89 yards on their opening drive that was capped by Wilson’s 3-yard TD pass to Nick Bellore. They gained 49 total yards combined in the second and third quarters. Between the six-minute mark of the first quarter and Tyler Lockett’s 12-yard catch early in the fourth quarter, Seattle had one first down.
Wilson finished 16 of 31 for 169 yards, but was sacked five times - four by Chandler Jones, who also forced a key fumble early in the second half.
Murray was 11 of 18 for 118 yards and a touchdown before leaving. He also added 40 yards rushing. His best play was the touchdown to Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead. Murray scrambled from the pocket, stopped before the line of scrimmage and flipped a short pass. Fitzgerald managed to corral the pass with one hand, then ran through Seattle’s K.J. Wright near the goal line for the touchdown.
Brett Hundley took over for Murray and the backup QB in Seattle last year led Arizona on a key scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter capped by Drake’s second touchdown run. Hundley had a critical 14-yard scramble on third-and-2 to get Arizona into field-goal range.
Seattle got a spark late in the third quarter when Rasheem Green blocked Gonzalez’s 45-yard field goal attempt and Marquise Blair returned it to the Arizona 16. But the Seahawks settled for Jason Myers’ 30-yard field goal and a 20-10 deficit. Myers added a 51-yard field goal on Seattle’s next possession to pull the Seahawks within 20-13 with 10:02 left. That was as close as Seattle would get.
Jones set a single-season franchise record for sacks. Jones has 19 on the season, topping the 17 he had in 2017. Jones now has 60 sacks in 63 career games since joining the Cardinals.
Fitzgerald became the second player in NFL history to top 17,000 yards receiving in a career. Fitzgerald reached the mark on his TD catch in the second quarter. Fitzgerald entered the day with 16,990 yards receiving; he trails only Jerry Rice (22,895) on the all-time list.
Wilson moved past Matt Hasselback to become Seattle’s all-time leader in yards passing. Wilson needed 103 yards to top Hasselback’s mark of 29,435 set during his 10 seasons with Seattle between 2001-10.
As expected, Seattle’s Week 17 matchup against San Francisco was flexed by the NFL to be the Sunday night game. It will be the second time Seattle has hosted the final game of the regular season with the NFC West title on the line. The previous time came in Pete Carroll’s first season when Seattle beat St. Louis 16-6 to win the NFC West.
Cardinals: travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
Seahawks: Seattle hosts San Francisco. Both already are in the playoffs.
Five Sleepers: Week 7
The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. It's a date with former Saint Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games for the team in 2019. New Orleans' defense is finally starting to get healthy after a rash of injuries, as they will get Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) back and essentially be at full strength. This unit may start to put together some good performances, starting with this week. They can be used as a starting option.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz faces a favorable matchup in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Lutz is perfect on the season, having made all nine field-goals and all 18 extra-points. Carolina ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to kickers, making this a juicy matchup for Lutz. Expect strong fantasy numbers from the 26-year-old.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook could see more opportunities in Week 7 against the Panthers. Cook had one of his better games against the Chargers, catching two passes for 52 yards and a score. New Orleans is down two of it's best pass-catchers- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- heading into the contest against the Panthers. The veteran tight end should see more targets, making him a good start as a TE1 in Week 7.
Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder, toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hyde will serve as the backup for Chris Carson but should see a handful of touches during the game. Fantasy players should be able to find better options and can keep Hyde on the bench.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks because of the injury, so fantasy players should look for other options to use. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty likely will share playing time while Mostert is sidelined. McKinnon probably has more fantasy value and can be a flex option in leagues. Hasty should be rostered in leagues and has a chance to be a flex option depending on the opponent.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Allen has been targeted at least eight times in four of the five games this season and seems to have a good connection with Justin Herbert. Allen can be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins likely will be able to play despite the injury, but fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He is a must-start option in all leagues if he is active for the game.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith faces a tricky matchup in Week 7 against the Panthers. However, matchup concerns are alleviated by the fact that New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Smith will be busy against a Panthers Defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts. With a good chance of finding the end zone, Smith is looking like a high-end WR3 in Week 7, despite the matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Demarcus Robinson served as the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs last week and probably will have a similar role this week. He can be a flex option or bye week replacement in fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara gets an excellent matchup against the Panthers Defense. Kamara has offered fantasy managers the safest floor of any running back, particularly in PPR formats, as he's had at least 19 fantasy points in every game this season. He'll go up against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing halfbacks. The Saints will probably go with a more run-heavy approach, seeing as their top-two wideouts- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- are out for the contest. Kamara is a must-start in redraft leagues and is well worth the price in DFS formats.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray has a favorable matchup in front of him against the Panthers in Week 7. Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) against the Panthers' 24th-ranked run defense. Murray is a good bet for 12-15 touches in Week 7, putting him squarely in the flex discussion.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation to see if Woods will be able to play in Week 7. He can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee probably will need to practice Saturday, Oct. 24, if he wants a chance to play in the Week 7 game. He is coming off his best game of the season and would see a few targets if he plays this week. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues.
Los Angeles Rams OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) and DT Aaron Donald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faces the Panthers in Week 7. Brees will face a sneakily-good Carolina defense without his top two receivers, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Despite not having Thomas, Brees has thrown for at least 250 yards or two touchdowns in each game this season, giving fantasy managers a solid floor. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, limiting Brees' upside. However, he should be able to finish as a solid QB2 in Week 7.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Gore likely will receive a majority of the carries this week against the Buffalo Bills but has not posted great numbers this season. He can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Tre'Quan Smith will be the main receiver for the Saints this week since Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have been ruled out. He should see plenty of targets against the Carolina Panthers and can be a low-end No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder may be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list before deciding on their lineups. He is the only Jets offensive player that have significant fantasy value and should be in starting lineups if he plays.
New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (ankle, knee) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Perriman has been targeted 15 times in three games and posted a season-high 62 yards in the last game. He will receive a handful of targets this week, but fantasy players in most leagues can find better options to use.
The Atlanta Falcons Defense should not be on the fantasy football radar heading into a Week 7 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Detroit's offense hasn't been as strong as expected, though they haven't been a matchup to stream defenses against either. They rank 15th in fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses, but the expected point total for this game makes the Falcons defense a unit to avoid. It also doesn't help that they haven't racked up many fantasy-relevant statistics. Leave Atlanta's defense on the waiver wire.