RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For Pete Carroll, the season has played out the way he has wanted for the Seattle Seahawks.
Instead of potentially facing a month without a meaningful game, the Seahawks (12-2) will get their chance to wrap up the NFC West and home-field advantage in the postseason in Week 16 if they can beat Arizona.
The Seahawks get the chance to clinch everything on Sunday in front of their adoring fans facing the Cardinals and coming off one of the best defensive performances in Carroll's tenure with the Seahawks.
"This could be the best scenario that you have to stay in it and to keep battling," Carroll said on Monday. "I'm more concerned about losing the edge that we've gained that has taken months and months and month to get here and then all of a sudden you kick into a mode where it could be different."
Carroll was still raving Monday about Seattle's defensive performance in its 23-0 shutout of the New York Giants on Sunday.
Carroll was impressed with the Seahawks' coverage in the secondary that resulted in five interceptions and a defense that for the second time in three weeks held an opponent to fewer than 200 yards of total offense.
Shutouts are rare for the Seahawks. In nearly 600 regular season games, Seattle has blanked its opponents only 18 times. Seven of those have come on the road, and just five in the past 30 seasons.
"There was just no phase of any aspect of what we were doing that wasn't on it," Carroll said. "The pressure was great, the run defense was there, the coverage was excellent, and the playmaking was there too."
The 181 yards allowed by Seattle was a season best and among the top 20 marks in franchise history. The number could have been even lower if not for a couple of drives by the Giants in the fourth quarter, which had fewer than 100 yards of offense entering the final 15 minutes.
Seattle also intercepted Eli Manning five times, the eighth time in franchise history the Seahawks had five or more interceptions in a game.
The Giants challenged Seattle's cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman deep on fade routes and both came up with interceptions. The Giants also tried to go underneath and found little open space.