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TE Jake Ballard - Arizona Cardinals

6-6, 256Born: 12-2-1987College: Ohio StateDrafted: ---

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Photo: Jason O. Watson, US Presswire

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Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. This is the first of two critical divisional showdowns between these playoff-contenders - Arizona has the best record in the NFL but is down to their backup quarterback after losing Carson Palmer to a torn ACL in his knee. Against the Lions' fierce defense, Drew Stanton managed to pull out a 14-6 win (he threw two first-quarter TDs to Michael Floyd on the way to 21/32 for 306 yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions thrown, with zero sacks taken on the day). John Brown saw the most targets from Stanton in Week 11, with nine for 5/69/0 receiving, while Floyd (five for 2/54/2) and Larry Fitzgerald (four for 2/33/0) were also heavily involved in the attack with Stanton back under center. The Seahawks' pass D wasn't tested much in Kansas City, as the Chiefs ran the football for almost 200 yards last week - Alex Smith finished the day with 11/16 for 108 yards, and zero TDs, interceptions, or sacks taken. Two weeks back, Eli Manning threw 29/44 for 270 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown, with two sacks taken for -13 yards. The on-again, off-again performance of the secondary lately is reflected in their lackluster totals of just six interceptions (tied for 23rd in the NFL) and 13 sacks (tied for 29th) generated to date - though the Seahawks do rank third in net passing yards allowed per game with an average of 215.3 net yards per game, with 15 passing scores surrendered over 10 games played. Divisional games are always hard-fought affairs - this looks like a neutral matchup to us with neither unit holding a clear edge over the other. Seattle's 12th-man home field advantage is also likely to be a factor in keeping this game close.

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Schedule

12@ Seattle Seahawks
13@ Atlanta Falcons
14vs Kansas City Chiefs
15@ St. Louis Rams
16vs Seattle Seahawks
17@ San Francisco 49ers