Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 9/8/13
We’re back baby! Finally the football season is here! The Championship Offseason is over, and the games count now. There probably couldn’t be a better test to see if the 10:00 AM East Coast game start time demons have been shelved for good than this week 1 matchup between the Seahawks and Panthers. Matchup: Seattle vs. Carolina Date: 9-8-13 Venue: Bank of America Stadium Time: 1:00 PM, 10:00 AM (local) Weather: High 91. Low 64. Partly Cloudy 20% chance of rain Team Records: Seattle 0-0. Carolina 0-0  Standings: Seahawks 1st NFC West. Panthers 1st NFC South NWSB Matchup Stats | NWSB Preview It’s almost game time and also time to see what this year will bring us. The offseason has brought a lot of promise for this young team and its coach Pete Carroll, now it’s time to see what happens on the field. The top headline on the Panthers site reads “For Newton Winning Starts Now.” We can argue that this should be our motto for tomorrow morning as well, except switch out that Newton for Seahawks. Game notes/How they match up This game will be filed under two mobile up and coming QBs in the media’s eyes, but I think it has a lot more to do with how the defenses will try to contain these two guys. Russell Wilson has an even bigger chip on his shoulder this season, but knowing now that Matt Flynn couldn’t even win the starting job in Oakland makes one wonder how much of a stretch Carroll’s decision was last preseason. The D will look to get after Newton early and often. (Photo: zimbio.com) One thing Wilson will have to do is come out strong tomorrow morning to get off to a fast start to make sure he doesn’t suffer from the same Sophomore slump that Cam Newton did last year. As we know, the Hawks will be without Bruce Irvin to injury, and now Chris Clemons has officially been ruled out for Week 1. If that weren’t enough of a blow to the DE position, Cliff Avril is listed as doubtful for tomorrow now as well. What to watch: Seattle Watch for a fast start out of our boys. This is a new year, a year in which the players will want to prove to the media that they really are contenders in the NFC. Marshawn Lynch will have to adjust to the new “crown of the helmet” rule, so it will be interesting to see how he has reformed his running style to not get punished this year. Golden Tate is going to be a man on a mission this year I think. After his coming out season last year, look for him to have even bigger numbers this year. Plus he needs to avenge himself for the “fail marry” in the eyes of football fans everywhere too. The defensive line is going to be our weakness for a couple weeks, so if we can pressure Newton in week 1 and keep him immobilized as much as possible, it will be considered a victory in my eyes. What to watch: Carolina Of course Cam Newton is gunning to get back on track and once again be a double threat in this league. The receivers should be able to burn the Carolina secondary. (Photo: zimbio.com) Steve Smith and Ted Ginn are always explosive players to watch out for, especially Ginn on special teams. That man can break one in the blink of an eye. DeAngelo Williams can be a pain in the neck, especially for the front four on the D-line. He is another player who is trying to get his career back on track after being a big name player earlier in his career. Defensively Wilson needs to keep the ball away from the center of the field and big #59 Luke Kuechly. That man is a complete beast. Seattle O vs. Carolina D Like I just mentioned, Luke Kuechly will be a player to keep the ball away from for the Seahawks offense. In the game style of the Seahawks, this could become troublesome for the running game. Once we get into the backfield of the defense, I think our WRs can out gas the DBs of the Carolina secondary. Some two TE sets may make the Panther lives a little harder, and should be used often to get the ball to Zach Miller and Luke Willson, especially in the red zone where this formation thrives for the Hawks. Carolina O vs. Seattle D Besides the beat up and depleted D-line, the Hawks D should have no problems with this Carolina offense. If Newton can’t find any open receivers, he will try to turn on the gas and get around the line. If that does happen he has KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner to contend with. The secondary will do their best to keep Steve Smith smothered, leaving the only real weapon left DeAngelo Williams. This, at least on paper, looks like a walk in the park for this defensive unit. Injury Report Seahawks Out: Michael Bowie, Chris Clemons, Jordon Hill Doubtful: Cliff Avril Questionable: Brandon Browner Probable: Tony McDaniel, Brandon Mebane, Sidney Rice, Stephen Williams Panthers Out: Kenjon Barner, James Dockery Doubtful: Mike Mitchell Questionable: Dwan Edwards, Domenik Hixon, Amini Silatolu Probable: Jon Beason, Ben Hartsock, Mike Tolbert Prediction The Hawks are favored by 3 in this away game. In years past that would be an awfully generous spread. But this is a new era of Seahawks football. Seahawks 31 Panthers 10 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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