Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers Preview

image

The Seattle Seahawks travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in the first game of the regular season. The Seahawks enter this season with high expectations, with many analysts and football fans across the country picking this Seattle team to win it all come February. But there are still some concerns surrounding this team going into the regular season that could have an immediate impact come Sunday in Carolina, INJURIES in particular. Can Seattle overcome these setbacks and win their first road opener since 2006?

10 A.M. kickoffs all the way across the country have never been Seattle’s specialty, which seems to be a big concern among analysts for the Hawks’ going into this game. But with all of the early morning practices the Seahawks have held at the VMAC this year, I don’t believe the early kickoff time will be a problem. I’m more concerned with the Offensive Line against Carolina’s interior Defensive Line, led by: Dwan Edwards, Star Lotulelei, and Kawann Short. Can Okung, McQuistan, Unger, Sweezy, and Giacomini hold these guys off and give Russell Wilson time in the pocket, or will this Carolina Defensive Line give Seattle fits all game?

Therefore, I think Seattle will run the ball as much as possible in this game. Marshawn Lynch was held to just 85 yards on 21 carries last year in the Week Five match-up with Carolina on the road, averaging 4 yards a carry. Lynch can carry the load for the offense if the offensive line provides the gaps to get him up the field and in the clear, if this happens expect a solid day out of Beast Mode.

Russell Wilson was an entirely different Quarterback when Carolina faced him early last season, he’s came a long way since then. Wilson will look to get going early with Golden Tate and Sidney Rice on the outside, and Doug Baldwin in the slot. I don’t expect Zach Miller to have performances like he did in Atlanta last season in the Playoffs for a while, due to the fact he just returned the last week of the Preseason from an injury. Therefore, watch out for Luke Willson, Stephen Williams, or Jermaine Kearse to make a big play or two on Sunday when they get in on the action.

Last year’s match-up between these two teams became a defensive battle, I expect the same thing this year. The run defense will be crucial for Seattle in this game, especially with all of the injuries the Seahawks have on the defensive line. Cam Newton can be absolutely lethal when running the ball, therefore, Seattle will have to force Cam Newton to win this game through the air again in order to come away with the victory. The HB Screen pass is something to watch out for in this game as well; DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, and Kenjon Barner are all capable of making big plays out of it.

Notable Injuries on both sides:

Seattle:

(DE) Cliff Avril (Hamstring): Doubtful

(CB) Brandon Browner (Hamstring): Questionable

(DE) Chris Clemons (Knee): Out

(DT) Tony McDaniel (Groin): Probable

(DT) Brandon Mebane (Groin): Probable

(WR) Sidney Rice (Knee): Probable

(WR) Stephen Williams (Head): Probable

Carolina:

(FB) Mike Tolbert (Hamstring): Probable

(WR) Domenik Hixon (Hamstring): Questionable

(RB) Kenjon Barner (Ankle): Out

(LB) Jon Beason (Knee): Probable

(S) Mike Mitchell (Calf): Doubtful

 

Overall, I think this game will be a close low scoring game much like last season. If Seattle can overcome their defensive line injuries and put pressure on Cam Newton all afternoon, they should be able to come away with the first win of the season. I’m taking Seattle over Carolina by a final score of: 23-17.