A look at three keys to Saturday’s Seahawks-Cardinals game. Will Seattle produce in the running game against a rugged Arizona defense? Can the Seahawks keep the drama to a minimum?

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Reviving Seahawks’ sack attack

After getting just one sack in the previous three games, the Seahawks had four last Thursday against the Rams (though the most memorable didn’t count — Michael Bennett’s first sack since his return from knee surgery, which was nullified by a holding penalty and then cemented into history by Bennett’s “three pumps’’ sack dance, which drew an additional flag).

Seattle should be able to have similar success against the Cardinals and their beat-up offensive line and immobile quarterback Carson Palmer — Arizona has allowed 39 sacks this season, fifth-most in the NFL. Palmer, in fact, has been sacked more often on the road this season than any other NFL quarterback, 3.8 times per game.

It’s worth noting, though, that a Cardinals’ line that has undergone a lot of injury-related change this season allowed just one sack last week as Palmer threw for 318 yards against the Saints. That Bennett looked and acted like his old self last week, though, was maybe the best sign for the Seahawks that their pass rush may also be back to normal.

Rebounding the run

Each of the three times the Seahawks have advanced to the Super Bowl they have done so powered by a running game that ranked in the top four in the NFL. But the Seahawks will have to get to the Super Bowl following a different path this season as Seattle stands just 20th in rushing this week at 101.9 yards per game, statistical standings that won’t change markedly now.

The Seahawks prefer to point out that they have averaged 145.4 yards rushing in their last five games, which would rank third in the NFL for the season. But some of the optimism that the running game is making a turnaround was muted when the Seahawks were held to 72 yards on 30 carries last Thursday against the Rams for a season-low 2.4 yards per carry average (totals which included Jon Ryan’s 26-yard jaunt on a fake punt).

Arizona serves as the last real litmus test of Seattle’s running game heading into the postseason, though. The Seahawks will finish the regular season on Jan. 1 at San Francisco against a 49ers team that ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense by a wide margin and Seattle should be able to put up big numbers against the 49ers. But the Cardinals are a different story — Arizona 12th overall in rushing defense at 99.1 yards allowed per game but fifth in yards per attempt at 3.7.

Smoothing over a simmering Sherm

The Seahawks could use a win Saturday to help clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC (victories by Seattle the next two weeks will set it up regardless of what anyone else does). What they could maybe use even more is a win that comes with no complications. Seattle won the NFC West for the third time in four years with last Thursday’s victory over the Rams. But that was largely forgotten in the hubbub over Richard Sherman’s sideline tirade and postgame comments critical of offensive playcalling, a story line that then dominated the rest of the week.

Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday he’s confident that all of that is behind the Seahawks, and he has pointed to the way Sherman played the rest of Thursday’s game — notably, his hit that knocked Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff out of the game — as proof that none of it had any impact on his play. And the Seahawks have seemed stunningly able to set aside any possible distractions throughout the Carroll years once they take to the field to come together for the common ground.

But a loss, or even an uninspiring win, will only raise more questions about where the rest of the season is headed.