There’s no denying the Arizona Cardinals face their toughest challenge yet this season when they travel up north to take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Their Week 7 home win over the Seahawks was impressive, but a win in Seattle’s house would quickly quiet any doubters around the NFL that believe the Cardinals can’t win the NFC West.
But in order to even start thinking about the division title, the Cardinals have to deal with a high-powered offense orchestrated by quarterback Russell Wilson and second-year wide receiver D.K. Metcalf.
The Cardinals are tops in the league in total offense (425.4 yards per game), but not far behind are the Seahawks (405.9). Much of that can be credited to the arm of Wilson and the hands of Metcalf.
Wilson paces the league with 28 touchdowns through the air. That’s more than Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes. The Seahawks quarterback only trails the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen (2,871) in passing yards with 2,789.
Metcalf has been on the other side of eight of Wilson’s 28 scores so far this season, leading all pass catchers on the team.
And although he hasn’t been targeted the most among his teammates — Tyler Lockett holds that honor with 79 — Metcalf has done the most with his opportunities, averaging a team-high 18.1 yards per receptions to go along with 816 yards. The next closest Seahawk is Lockett with 681.
His last outing, however, had Metcalf falling back down to earth.
In Seattle’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the wideout caught just two of his four targets for 28 yards.
It’s awfully similar to how Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson shut Metcalf down in the pair’s first showdown of the season. Targeted five times, Metcalf managed to come down with two balls for 23 total yards in Seattle’s loss to Arizona.
But while Peterson has had success against the wide receiver to along with Metcalf’s down game last Sunday, the cornerback isn’t skipping over Round 2 of the 2020 matchup.
Peterson knows Metcalf is one play, one target away from blowing the doors off the defense.
“D.K.’s being doing nothing but great things throughout his career. … Just a tremendous talent,” Peterson said via Zoom on Wednesday. “I’ll have my hands full again.
“Coming into this game, I’ve got to expect balls coming his way early and often after having his second-lowest career game. … So have to expect Russ wanting to get him in the game early because they definitely thrive off his big plays.”
While Metcalf presents a tall task for Peterson and the defense, the cornerback welcomes the challenge.
And after holding the 6-foot-4, 229-pound WR to just 23 yards earlier this season, Peterson’s the one entering with the upper hand.
“D.K.’s a much more bigger bodied receiver,” Peterson said. “To me, I love those matchups because those are the type of guys who love to be physical. … It’s a little more difficult for those guys to dip their shoulders and get into a speed release so those type of receivers play into my hands.”