Russell Wilson vs Cam Newton, two of the most exciting athletic quarterbacks in the NFL will be going head to head in what should be a classic playoff game this Sunday.
The Seattle Seahawks are coming into Carolina off a stunning 10-9 victory over the Vikings, thanks to a Blair Walsh missed 27 yard field goal in the final seconds of the game. Seattle will be riding high, as Carolina has had nearly two weeks off. Advantage Seattle? We'll see.
These two teams met back in Week 6, as the Panthers beat the Seahawks 27-23 in Seattle. Cam Newton had his struggles passing against the Seahawks secondary, going 20-36 for 269 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He did add 30 yards and a score on the ground though. Again it won't be any easier going up against Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor, as these guys seem to play their best come playoff time.
Greg Olsen was the guy who hurt Seattle the most, as he caught seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. I can assure you that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks defense will make adjustments and leave it up to someone else in the Panthers offense to beat them. Ted Ginn Jr. will be ready to go this weekend after sitting out the season finale, and he will be the other main threat for the Panthers due to his speed. Ginn only caught 44 passes on the season but 10 of those went for touchdowns.
Carolina will also get Jonathan Stewart back this weekend as he has been out since Week 14 due to a sprained foot. This will be a huge upgrade for the Panthers as Stewart rushed for 78 yards and two scores against Seattle in week 6.
Seattle is going to have to figure out how to move the ball against the Carolina defense. It could have been due to the frigid temperatures but the Seahawks offense looked dreadful against the Vikings last weekend.
The big question leading into this weekend, is whether or not Marshawn Lynch will be ready to go. It will truly be a game time decision, unless the team rules him out early. Lynch played in the Week 6 game, and rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
If Lynch is sidelined once again, it will be Christine Michael handling the carries for Seattle. Michael rushed for 70 yards on 21 carries against the Vikings. Fred Jackson will see work on passing downs. Expect Bryce Brown to stay on the bench again this week as the Seahawks cannot trust him due to his fumbling issues.
Russell Wilson might be asked to do more with his legs this weekend as the last time these two teams met, Wilson rushed for 53 yards. Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse will have to make plays against Josh Norman and the tough Panthers secondary. The three of them didn't do much against the Vikings, combining for nine catches, 95 yards and a touchdown. Getting tight end Luke Willson back this week will be huge for Russell, as he really played without a tight end last week.
This is going to be a close low scoring game, and I think the Seahawks will really benefit from playing in some nicer weather. Personally, I believe the bye week does more harm then good.
Give me the Seahawks 24-23.
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