After falling to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals on the road, the Seattle Seahawks make their way back to CenturyLink Field to match up with the Carolina Panthers.
After consecutive games against the winless opponents, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, Seattle plays a second straight team with a zero in the loss column.
The Panthers provide a much different opponent than the Bengals on both sides of the ball.
Cincinnati has allowed the tenth most yards in the NFL, while Carolina has allowed the third fewest. In other words, it’s going to be more of a challenge for Russell Wilson and company just a week after the unit posted 413 yards of total offense.
A critical part of the Seahawks’ offense against the Bengals was rookie Thomas Rawls. The running back ran for 169 yards and a score. Rawls and Marshawn Lynch, who is likely to play after missing last week, face a strong rushing defense. Carolina is the league’s best run-stopping unit, allowing an NFL-low 368 yards on the entire season. Seattle’s offensive line played better against the Bengals, but they’ll face a new challenge with the stout Panthers’ defensive unit.
With Lynch likely to play, it will be interesting to see how the three-headed monster of Rawls, Lynch and Fred Jackson fair against the Carolina defense.
While the Seahawks’ running game will face a top-flight defensive unit, the Panthers’ offense isn’t nearly as fearsome as the Carolina’s defense. Only the Minnesota Vikings have thrown for fewer yards in the league. Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn Jr. are the only Panthers’ receivers with more than 100 receiving yards on the season. By comparison, the Seattle offense, which hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, features five players with more than 100 receiving yards.
The Hawks will need to force more turnovers if they want to put themselves in a better position to win. Seattle has only forced seven turnovers this season. The league-leading Denver Broncos have twice as many.
Seahawks defensive players have one interception this season, which came last week. With the Legion of Boom and company back at home facing an anemic passing offense devoid of much fire power or weapons, this could be the week Seattle’s defense starts forcing turnovers again.
Marcus Burley is the only player deemed out for Seattle. The cornerback has a hand injury and missed the weeks’ worth of practices. Fellow cornerback Tye Smith (hip), linebacker Nick Moody (ankle), as well as defensive lineman Jordan Hill (quadriceps) and Frank Clark (hamstring), are all listed as doubtful.
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (shoulder), Lynch (hamstring) and linebackers Bobby Wagner (pectoral) and Brock Coyle (knee) are all questionable.
With regards to Lynch and Wagner in particular, head coach Pete Carroll discussed the duo’s injury situations Friday morning on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM in Seattle. With Lynch, they are “expecting him to play, and play a lot.” Wagner, on the other hand, will “go all the way to game-time” in terms of whether the linebacker plays on Sunday.
Michael Bennett (non-injury related) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring) round out the report. Both are probable.
For the Panthers, defensive end Jared Allen (back), Daryl Williams (knee) and linebacker A.J. Klein (concussion) have all been ruled out.
Tight end Richie Brockel (hamstring) is doubtful, while guard Amini Silatolu (ankle) is questionable.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion) and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ankle) are both probable.