Seattle has had an up and down season thus far, leading to a 2-2 record that could, and probably should be worse. By now everyone has seen or at least heard about the blown call that gift wrapped a victory for Seattle against the Packers on Monday Night Football. If that play is called correctly, we are looking at a game against two 1-3 teams. Still, you have to give credit to Seattle to holding the Packers to just 12 points. In fact, nobody has scored more than 19 points against the Seahawks this season. That total was scored just last week when the Rams took an upset win.
The best news perhaps is that this game is played in Carolina. Seattle is a very tough place to play, in fact it is one of the hardest places to play in all of the NFL. They crushed the Cowboys in their home opener, and one that controversial game against Green Bay. On the road is a different story. They had a chance to beat Cards on the road, but couldn’t finish their last drive in the red zone. They also played a pretty poor game against the Rams last week, losing to their division rival. So, the Panthers have to be thankful that they aren’t hitting the road on this one.
The Seahawks have a very good defense, which is the key to this game. The Panthers aren’t going to win many games with their defense, so if they want to come out ahead they will have to crack Seattle’s D. Too make things worse, their specialty is their run D thus far. They have given up just over 60 yards per game, but they haven’t faced a running team of the caliber of Carolina. These numbers should take a hit come next week, regardless if the Panthers win or not. Carolina needs to run the ball to be successful on offense and Seattle has yet to face a QB than can run like Newton.
The passing defense has also been pretty stout. They have given up 213 yards per game and that includes the likes of Rodgers and Tony Romo. They have two, big physical corners in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. Throw in Kim Chancellor and this defense towers over almost every receiver. Steve Smith should be able to get his yards, but the rest of the receivers are in for a tough day.
The offensive lives and dies on Marshawn Lynch. Rookie Russell Wilson has been less than spectacular to start his career, which isn’t terribly shocking considering his draft spot. The 5’10” QB still has a lot to polish off, so this should be the Panthers point of attack. He has a big arm, but is prone to mistakes. He has just 4 TD’s to go along with 4 picks. He is capable of running the ball, but hasn’t really displayed that part of his game just yet. The Seahawks passing game is currently last in the league in terms of yardage. Lynch on the other hand, has proven that he is a star back. He is on pace for over 1600 yards on the season and averaging 4.6 yards a clip despite defenses clearly focusing on him. He is nearly impossible to bring down on the first hit, but Carolina needs to limit his damage, especially around the red zone.
This is probably the first game that I didn’t see as a likely shootout. This one is more likely to turn into a defensive struggle, only because Seattle’s offense hardly seems capable of putting up big numbers. Carolina is certainly capable of winning this game, but it won’t be easy. Look for a great matchup this Sunday.