The last time these two teams met, the Seattle Seahawks were the undefeated leaders of the NFC West and Russell Wilson was the clear front-runner for MVP.
A lot has changed since.
The Arizona Cardinals handed the Seahawks their first defeat of the season in a Week 7 Sunday night thriller in the desert. Since then, the Seahawks have lost two out of three games and Wilson’s MVP candidacy has fallen back into the stratosphere alongside a handful of other top quarterbacks.
One of those quarterbacks is Kyler Murray.
Cardinals surge as Seahawks struggle
Murray torched the Seahawks that night for 360 yards and three touchdowns in the air. He added 67 yards and a score on the ground. Since then, he has converted the play of the NFL season with Sunday’s Hail Mary miracle to DeAndre Hopkins to defeat the Buffalo Bills. And he’s thrown his hat squarely in a now wide-open MVP race.
That same Sunday, Wilson looked downright human in a zero-touchdown, two-interception effort in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Now both teams are tied atop the NFC West alongside the Rams at 6-3.
The stakes will be high for Thursday’s rematch in Seattle that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
MVP implications on the line
Despite his recent struggles, Wilson’s campaign for his first MVP is still very much alive.
He leads the league with 28 touchdown passes and trails only Josh Allen with 2,789 passing yards through nine games. His Seahawks appear to be playoff-bound thanks largely to his high-octane connection with receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. He has also added 325 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Murray, meanwhile, has made the second-year leap from his Rookie of the Year campaign that Cardinals fans had hoped for. He has emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous dual-threat weapons and is leading the once moribund Cardinals into playoff contention.
He’s upped his completion percentage from 64.4 percent to 68.2 this season. He’s throwing for 263.9 yards per game compared to 232.6 in 2019 with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions through nine games. He’s also the eighth-leading rusher in the league with 604 yards and whopping 10 touchdowns.
He has supplanted Lamar Jackson as the league’s most feared quarterback with the ball in his hands. In short, he’s more than lived up to the billing that made him the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft.
While Thursday’s matchup could end up playing a factor in the MVP race, it will definitely play a role in the race for the division. The NFC West is the most hotly contested division in football, and Thursday’s winner will have a clear leg up in the race.
This is must-watch Thursday night football.
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