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Seahawks take control of NFC in romp over Cardinals

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The Seattle Seahawks wrested control of the NFC West from Arizona for the first time this season, handing the Cardinals a convincing 35-6 beatdown on Sunday night. Our takeaways:

1. If the Seahawks take care of business at home versus the Rams next week, they will earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If they should stumble and the Cardinals manage to win at San Francisco, Arizona would win the division. Entering Week 17, the Super Bowl champions are the NFL's most complete team. Pete Carroll's squad is coming off a five-game stretch more dominant than any similar span from last season.

2. Dan Quinn's defense deserves all of the credit they have been receiving as the NFL's best, but it's the improvement on offense that has to have the Seattle faithful excited. Whereas a month ago the offense was based on Marshawn Lynch and randomness in the passing game, Russell Wilson manufactured big plays over the past three weeks. Wilson is playing as well as ever, making blitzers pay with his unparalleled scrambling ability and keeping plays alive to hit open receivers down the field. Clicking on all cylinders, the Seahawks racked up 596 yards against one of the NFL's top-five defenses.

3. To the surprise of no one, the Cardinals have a quarterback problem. Ryan Lindley was too inaccurate to be intercepted, completing just 41 percent of his passes. Coach Bruce Arians suggested last week that Drew Stanton might be able to return for the season finale. As much as we admire Arians' coaching ability, the best-case scenario is entering the postseason limited by a backup quarterback coming off a knee sprain. It's not a recipe for success, especially if the Cardinals are forced to leave Arizona for a Divisional Round game.

4. For at least the third time this season, Lynch sat by himself on the bench as the Seahawks offense took the field. The official announcement was an upset stomach. We find it suspicious that he grabbed his helmet as soon as the first quarter was over. It was all water under the bridge, however, after Lynch broke free for 113 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. Beast Mode will carry a single-season career high 16 touchdowns in to the season finale.

5. Wilson unearthed a pair of new weapons in rookie receiver Paul Richardson and playmaking tight end Luke Willson. Richardson has made plays the past few games and could be forced into the starting lineup next week as a result of Jermaine Kearse's hamstring injury. Willson, one of the five fastest tight ends in the league, nearly doubled his single-game career high with 139 yards and two touchdowns. The passing attack will need contributions from both players going forward.

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