Will & Carlton 2.0?

NFC Game Of The Week

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

Seahawks: After two disappointing losses to the Chargers and Rams in back to back weeks, the Seattle Seahawks got back in the win column with a close victory over the Green Bay Packers last Thursday night to kick off week 11. At the moment, they’re 5-5 and on the outside looking in of the playoff picture but I don’t necessarily count them out because believe it or not, this has been one of their better teams as of late and I can explain what I mean. When you look back at the Seahawks and when they won consecutive NFC championships, what was the formula for their success? Running the ball and at that time, they had one of the best in the league in Marshawn Lynch who was the engine that truly made that offense go and some would argue he was their heart and soul. This year, the Seahawks have made it a point of emphasis to run the football and it’s helped release a lot of pressure off Russell Wilson because he shouldn’t be throwing the football as many time as he’s had too but when the ground attack is absent, you have no other choice. I really enjoy watching Tyler Lockett play and his versatility is what really stands out. You need him in the slot, he’s your guy, he returns kicks and he’s become that safety valve for Russell and another weapon outside of Doug Baldwin to depend on. The numbers may not prove it, but the Seahawks defense isn’t as bad as people have made it out to be and what I admire is how they leave it all on the field and how hard they play. This is a big game for them on Sunday against an opponent they know all too well in the Carolina Panthers.

Panthers: Just when you’re ready to label them as a contender, they go out and embarrass themselves. That week ten showdown against the Steelers was as bad as it gets and I really think they quit in that game because they didn’t even bother to try. Over the years, Cam Newton has faced his fair share of criticisms and this goes back to his efforts when the Panthers were in the Super Bowl and how he didn’t dive for the ball when he was literally inches away from it to how he handled his press conference in that game. I saw him pouting on the sidelines and that didn’t sit well with me because he’s supposed to be the leader of this team and as the leader, the team will always take after you. In their last game against the Lions, I think they fell for the trap and Ford Field has always been one of the tougher places to play. You can blame Ron Rivera all you want for deciding to go for it after they scored that touchdown in the fourth quarter, but I liked his comments and he said I wanted to win the game. How can you blame a coach for wanting to be aggressive and he made another solid point stating if they went into overtime, they could’ve lost the coin toss so I can’t blame him for his decision at all. After such a strong start, Carolina has dropped their last two games to fall to 6-4 and now three games behind the New Orleans Saints who are simply rolling right now. The one thing I will say about Cam is he’s making some great throws from the pocket and it helps when your offensive line is allowing you time to stay up on your feet and allow you to throw from a clean pocket along with the skill players on the outside have really stepped it up. They’ll look to snap this two-game skid with Seattle in town for a big game.

Seahawks Player To Watch: Chris Carson– You better have game if you have two first names and whenever the Seahawks feed him the ball, good things usually happen. This is a successful team when they are able to establish their running game.

Panthers Player To Watch: Greg Olsen– This is Cam’s safety valve. When he’s on the field and when the Panthers are in the red area, one of two people are getting the ball and that’s Christian McCaffrey or Greg Olsen. It’s good to see him healthy because when he is, he makes all the difference.

Final Analysis: I’ve always liked this match up when they face off because the games are always close and come down to the fourth quarter. When they play each other, it’s always an old-school battle. I’m talking about physical football. I can’t wait to see how the Seahawks gameplan for the dynamic play-making of Christian McCaffrey because he can affect the game as a runner or a receiver. If I’m Carolina, I’m doing what most teams do against the Seahawks and that’s attack this Seattle offensive line because they aren’t good at all.

Prediction: Panthers 28 Seahawks 23