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Originally published Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

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By the numbers

4

Number of winning seasons since moving to Arizona in 1988, including this year.

4

Interceptions returned for touchdowns, tied for third-best in the NFL.

3.6

Yards per rush allowed, second in the NFL to the Jets (3.2).

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Game time: 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field.

TV: Ch. 13.

Coach: Bruce Arians, 9-5 in first season as coach (served as interim coach of Colts last season for 12 games and was 9-3).

Record: 9-5.

Last game: Won at Tennessee, 37-34, in overtime.

The series: Arizona leads 15-14, but the Seahawks have won five of the past seven, including the past three in Seattle, capped by a 58-0 win on Dec. 9, 2012.

The early line: Seahawks by 10.

Key players: Carson Palmer has been erratic but has improved the team’s passing game, completing 64.5 percent of his attempts and throwing for 21 touchdowns. He also has thrown 17 interceptions, but has not thrown a pick in four of the past five games as the Cardinals have won six of their past seven. Palmer suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday but did not come out of the game. Palmer’s favorite target is veteran Larry Fitzgerald, 30, who leads the team with 30 receptions. Rookie Andre Ellington, a sixth-round pick out of Clemson, has revived Arizona’s running game with 558 rushing yards, averaging 5.9 per carry. John Abraham, a 14-year veteran who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in July, has been a huge spark and is tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks with 11.5.

Arizona’s keys to success: When Seattle blasted the Cardinals in Glendale, 34-22, on Oct. 17, there was nothing to indicate that Arizona would morph into a legitimate playoff contender. The Cardinals were 3-4 after that defeat. But Arizona has since won six of seven, thanks in part to an improving defense that has forced 28 turnovers, third-best in the NFL, and an offense that has gotten steadier play from Palmer and a boost in the running game from Ellington. A 3-0 turnover differential was the difference Sunday as the Cardinals survived blowing a 17-point lead in the final six minutes of regulation to beat Tennessee 37-34 in overtime. Arizona has the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, allowing just 83.2 yards per game. Since allowing 135 to the Seahawks, the Cardinals have held five of seven teams since to less than 100 yards. Arizona’s only loss since the Seattle game was a 24-21 defeat at Philadelphia, and in that time beat the Falcons, Jaguars, Colts and Rams by 13 points or more.

Bob Condotta



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