When the schedule came out, folks in Seattle and Phoenix pointed to the Seahawks-Cardinals game on Thursday night as a pivotal one in the NFC West.

Forget that: Arizona, plagued by injuries and mediocre play, has been a huge disappointment.

Indeed, the Seahawks haven't exactly been world beaters, either, bothered by untimely penalties and a sporadic attack.

This is an opportunity for Seattle to keep close to the division-leading Rams, who sort of have a bye as they face the powerless Texans. Are the Seahawks up to it?

Star linebacker Bobby Wagner has no doubts, and even finds a benefit to playing the Cardinals on a short week.

"Yeah, because you don't have to relearn a new offense, like you have seen this team a handful of times," Wagner said.

"We got a lot of film on them, so that's what helps us. They know us, we know them, and it's just who can remember what they did the fastest."

The Arizona roster Wagner and cohorts will face in truth isn't all that recognizable with Carson Palmer and David Johnson sidelined.

But newcomer Adrian Peterson has had two big games running the ball and will get all of Seattle's attention.

"I think this is a style of offense where he is excelling really well in because he is a very patient runner, and this is a patient kind of run game," Wagner said.

"It is just crunching and just waiting for someone to pop out of their gap. He does a good job of finding it, but I feel like we have been very disciplined when we played him, and we understand the problems that he kind of presents when we play him. If we stay gap sound, we should be fine."

Seattle (No. 10 in AP Pro32) is a 6-point choice at No. 23 Arizona.

SEAHAWKS, 19-12

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP

OK, we get a mulligan. Due to deadlines, the surefire pick of Houston last week was made the day before Deshaun Watson went down. Does anyone this side of Chuck Pagano think we would have picked the Colts?

Hoping that Matthew Stafford does not have the same issue this week, we'll go with DETROIT.

No. 24 Houston (plus 10) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

Without Watson, Texans have no offense. And no chance.

BEST BET: RAMS, 27-10

No. 8 Dallas (plus 3) at No. 16 Atlanta

Two teams headed in opposite directions. Go with the team pointing upward.

UPSET SPECIAL: Cowboys, 30-20

No. 20 New York Jets (minus 2 1-2) at No. 29 Tampa Bay

Actually toyed with this as Best Bet.

JETS, 26-17

No. 6 New Orleans (minus 3) at No. 13 Buffalo

Actually toyed with this as Upset Special.

BILLS, 24-23

No. 2 Pittsburgh (minus 7 1-2) at No. 28 Indianapolis

Did not toy with this for Upset Special. But did for Best Bet.

STEELERS, 38-13

No. 3 New England (minus 6) at No. 25 Denver

Patriots often struggle in Mile High City. Not this time.

PATRIOTS, 27-16

No. 5 Minnesota (minus 1) at No. 14 Washington

Redskins looked so good in Seattle, but also are so banged-up.

VIKINGS, 20-17

No. 18 Green Bay (plus 5) at No. 26 Chicago

Cheeseheads are putting their faith in Wisconsin Badgers now.

BEARS, 13-9

No. 22 Miami (plus 8) at No. 9 Carolina, Monday night

Another prime-timer for Dolphins, who haven't really earned it.

PANTHERS, 20-14

No. 21 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 4 1-2) at No. 11 Jacksonville

We could see Chargers sneaking away with this one.

JAGUARS, 21-20

No. 27 Cincinnati (plus 5 1-2) at No. 12 Tennessee

If Titans expect to win AFC South, they can't stumble in this kind of matchup.

TITANS, 23-16

No. 21 Cleveland (plus 10) at No. 15 Detroit

First win for Browns? Not happening.

LIONS, 27-12

No. 30 New York Giants (minus 1) at No. 31 San Francisco

First win for Niners? Maybe. Or maybe not.

GIANTS, 17-13

___

2017 RECORD:

Last week: Against spread (5-6-1). Straight up (6-7)

Season Totals: Against spread (60-63-3). Straight up: (80-52)

Best Bet: 5-4 against spread, 7-2 straight up.

Upset special: 6-3 against spread, 6-3 straight up

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL