Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/6/12

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers

Seattle:  The Seahawks come off a tough divisional road loss, and now go back on the road all the way across the country for a morning game against a scrappy Panthers team.  This is a team that has defense good enough that the offense only has to score a couple of touchdowns a game in order to win.  Unfortunately, scoring two touchdowns in a game has only happened once out of four games, so to say the offense is struggling is an understatement. 

Chief amongst those struggles is the passing game led by rookie Russell Wilson.  Wilson hasn’t thrown for more than 160 yards; part of that has been game plan, but part has been his struggles with connecting down field to his receivers.  This makes any part of the Seahawks passing game unstartable, even against a porous defense like the Panthers.

What does work for the Seahawks is the ground game led by Marshawn Lynch.  With 423 yards, Lynch leads the league in rushing yardage; the most impressive part about that is he’s done it without an outlier huge game, and he’s also done it with a passing game that doesn’t threaten anyone.  With the offensive line blocking so well, Lynch is an automatic start no matter the opponent.

Good Start:  RB Marshawn Lynch

Middle of the Road: None

Bad Start:  QB Russell Wilson, WR Sidney Rice, WR Golden Tate, TE Zach Miller

 

Carolina:  The Panthers come off a hard loss to division rival Atlanta, as Cam Newton and company gave all they had and just fell short against a very good Falcons team.  Now the Panthers will have to rebound against a defense that’s one of the best in the league.  Currently, Newton ranks only 18th in passing yards per game, but as we all know he does a lot of damage with his legs.  Newton has 7 total touchdowns, but he’ll be hard pressed to add much to that total this weekend.  Still, he’s a tough matchup for an aggressive Seahawks defense, and he remains a must-start.

The one player that Newton will look for down the field against a Seahawks defense that can be beat deep is Steve Smith.  Smith has yet to score a touchdown, but with the Seahawks playing heavy man defense, Smith could wiggle loose from the big and but not very fast Seahawks corners.  The Seahawks have also been vulnerable to athletic tight ends, so Greg Olsen could have a decent game as well.

One thing the Seahawks definitely do well is defend the run; Seattle is second only to Miami in allowing the least amount of run yardage per game.  Considering the rushing attack is split three ways between Jonathan Stewart, Deangelo Williams, and Newton, the running backs are simply unusable in this matchup. 

Good Start:  QB Cam Newton, WR Steve Smith

Middle of the Road:  TE Greg Olsen

Bad Start:  RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Brandon LaFell

 



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