Here are some matchups I'll be keeping an eye on when the Seahawks host the Cardinals at the CLink.
Brandon Browner vs Larry Fitzgerald: This is the obvious one. Browner got smoked for 10 catches, 194 yards and a touchdown last week against Pittsburgh, according to Profootballfocus. Most of that was surrendered to Mike Wallace, arguably the fastest player in the NFL. That was a mismatch, and one that Browner was exploited on. This week, there's no rest for the weary, as Browner will be marking arguably the best possession receiver in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald. Problem is, he's also a very good deep threat. In theory, the size and length Browner possesses gives him an advantage on the jump balls and back shoulder throws that Fitzgerald makes a living on, but Browner will have to learn to get his head around on balls and lay off on the pass interference penalties he's been stacking up.
The advantage here is obviously Fitzgerald. That said, it will be interesting to see how Browner does here, as a big part of the reason so many of us have had high hopes for him rest on his ability to match up on the leagues 'big' receivers.
Todd Heap/Jeff King vs K.J. Wright/Leroy Hill/Aaron Curry/Kam Chancellor: Jeff King has already managed to slip through the cracks and catch two wide open passes for touchdowns from Kevin Kolb this year and thus far, Kevin Kolb is 7-of-7 for 145 yards and 2 TD on passes to in-line tight ends. This should be noted, and it's probably going to be up to our outside linebackers and safeties, notably Wright, Hill, Curry, and Chancellor to pick up and run with Heap and King. These TEs are Kolb's safety net, and as you can see he's used them well so far.
Part of the reason that Aaron Curry has faced criticism and probably part of the reason K.J. Wright will see more time this week is that running with these tight ends will be important. Curry's strength is against the run, and Wright is more fluid in pass coverage. Something to watch.
Beanie Wells vs Chris Clemons/Red Bryant: Wells is averaging over 5 yards a carry this season and from what I've heard he's bounced the ball outside well, thus far. This means that Clemons and Bryant will have to be special on the edge, force everything inside and let our linebackers mop up. Stopping Wells on the ground should give the Seahawks favorable field position on 3rd down, and that's when they can dial in blitzes. That's their strategy, it seems anyway.
If Wells can't go (and it's looking like he might not - he's currently a game-time decision with a tweaked hamstring), LaRod Stephens-Howling and Chester Taylor will likely split carries. Same principles apply, and the Seahawks will look to stop the run like they've done thus far this season.
Sidney Rice/Mike Williams vs Patrick Peterson/A.J. Jefferson: Two big receivers, Rice at 6'5, 212 and Williams at 6'5, 235 will be matched up against rookie Patrick Peterson at 6'1, 219, who has started all of three NFL games, and AJ Jefferson at 6'1, 190, who has started all of three NFL games. The advantage in size and veteran savvy goes to the Seahawks here, but it will be up to Tarvaris Jackson to get these two the football. Mike Williams addressed this on Thursday night on Seahawks Weekly, saying something to the effect of "I told Tarvaris: if they are 'this' close, just throw it."
I'm assuming he meant even if they're blanketing BMW, he'll go get the ball. That's what both him and Rice excel at, so watch for that.
Tarvaris Jackson vs Kevin Kolb: Though they won't be directly matched up against each other, this is an obvious comparison to make. Kolb was acquired by the Cardinals this offseason for, relatively, a King's ransom. Tarvaris Jackson was signed as a free agent for relatively cheap. If Jackson can even hold his own in this matchup you have to feel good about it. Some fans will regret that the team did not pursue the Kolb trade more fervently, but here we are. Kolb vs Jackson.
Jackson will hope to limit turnovers and distribute the ball. Kolb will look for the big play to Larry Fitz and try to stick a dagger in the Seahawks hearts. Watch for huddle command and body language. Watch for momentum swings on the backs of these two players.
Should be interesting.