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ESPN NFL insider John Clayton: Seahawks have an appreciation for the Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, right, talks with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. The Seahawks won 35-6. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider

There’s no way around it — The Arizona Cardinals’ Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks is going to be a good one. One team is working toward regaining their place on the top of the NFC West, a place they’ve grown accustomed to the past few years; the other currently holds that spot and plans on increasing their lead.

“I think most [Seahawks] fans are worried,” John Clayton of ESPN told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday. “They realize this is now going to be the difference between are you competing for the division or are you just going to be in the mix for the Wild Card.”

But there’s a big difference between fans and the players themselves, as Clayton points out.

“The players, they’re fine,” he said. “They’ve been through enough big games, enough pressure games. They pretty much treat every game the same, whether it’s an easy game or in this case, a tough game.”

Clayton said he witnessed a loose team in the Seahawks locker room, including a ping pong game between pro-bowler defensive back Richard Sherman and defensive end Bruce Irvin. However, that doesn’t mean they’re expecting a cake walk, according to Clayton.

“I think there’s an appreciation on the team for how good the Cardinals are,” he said, “particularly with guys like Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. Richard is a very good friend of Larry Fitzgerald. I think you can see there’s a genuine respect for Carson Palmer.”

The Cardinals have been fairly healthy all season and go into this game with four players limited at practice this week but no one ruled out. The Seahawks are in a similar position, also coming off a bye week.

“The bye week has helped both teams. If you look at the injury list, really for Seattle there’s only one guy,” Clayton said referring to Ricardo Lockette. Additionally, he said Seahawks tackle Russell Okung’s toe injury is nothing serious and the Cardinals should see a very fresh team in Seattle.

“And that’s great because now you have a great game with both teams going in healthy and that’s what you want this late in the season.”

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