Friday, September 6, 2013

Prediction: Panthers to edge Seattle on Sunday

A few notes and my prediction on Carolina's season opener vs. Seattle (1 p.m. in Charlotte):

While many ACC fans will keep a close eye on former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson Sunday, the Panthers may have even more trouble with Marshawn Lynch. Watch out for No.24 -- he has rushed for more than 100 yards in 16 of his last 25 games and has made the Pro Bowl each of the past two years.

Lynch got only five carries in the preseason, but don't be fooled by that. The Seahawks were just trying to limit his hits because he's going to take so many in 2013, and he will be a workhorse Sunday. If he rips off a lot of 8-10 yard runs, Carolina's defense never will have much chance to use its pass rush. The Seahawks ran the ball more than any other NFL team in 2012, which took a lot of the pressure off Wilson. Rookie defensive tackle Star Lotulelei needs to have a big game Sunday inside to allow middle linebacker Luke Kuechly to zero in on Lynch.

-- In Carolina's 16-12 loss to Seattle in Charlotte a year ago, the Panther offense generated a measly three points. The touchdown came from Captain Munnerlyn's interception return of a Wilson pass, and the Seahawks took an intentional safety late in the game.

-- Does Jon Beason have something to prove Sunday? You bet he does. The Panther linebacker was once in the middle of the Carolina defense and a team captain. Now he is neither of one of those things -- he has shifted to outside linebacker to accommodate Kuechly's emergence and he was not voted a team captain this season. How well Beason plays -- and if he can stay on the field after missing 27 of the past 32 games due to injury -- is a huge key for Carolina this season.

-- In my prediction column that will appear in print in Saturday's special Panthers section and is already online, I picked the Panthers to go 10-6 and make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 this year. My colleague Tom Sorensen was more pessimistic, picking them to go 8-8.

If the Panthers are going to get it done this season, these are the types of games they must win -- at home against a quality opponent. My pick: Carolina 23, Seattle 21.


Big Kev said...

You forgot to mention that the Panthers held Lynch & the Seahawks as a whole to under 100 yards with a weaker defense last year compared to this year. Or that Cam threw a surefire TD to Hartsock's feet from the Sea 1 yard line!

Walter Kowalczyk said...

your black cats played good agaist an emerging seahawks team last year,but this year they will be stepping in front of a freight train.hope you can stay ingury free.

Anonymous said...

You must realize that game last yr was only Wilson's 5th start after splitting time in Training camp three ways.. and Carroll had training wheels on him.. which didn't come off until the second half of the season when the Hawks led the league in scoring..

Everything favors the Panthers in this game.. Hawks DL injuries/suspension, 10AM start, trap game for the Hawks, Hawks have gotten all the preseason pub and are a shiek pick for SB...

Hawks need to prove 10AM starts don't matter anymore.. if they want to have home field for the playoffs, they have to win this game, by 1 point or by 2 tds.. They'll show up for this one..

Anonymous said...

Tom has always been my favorite columnist. I wear black way more than he does. Gray doesn't count. It's like tan.....not a color! I've had my issues with Scott......thinking he was too vanilla, or tan. Today Scott is my new favorite. He put himself out there, and I'm in almost total total aggreement. Scott deserves to wear the favorite color of all women on men. BLACK! Tom deserves tan or washed out grey. You both are excellent at your jobs. I on the other hand after 37 years as a sales rep in the apparel retired. PEACE OUT! GO PANTHERS!

Anonymous said...

Seattle has been practicing for a month starting at 10am out on the west coast.They have been game planning for this road game for a month.
Any Vegas bookie looks at a 7~9team vs a 11~5 play~off team and there's not much mystery who is going to get the nod.
That said the panthers look better than the team that met Seattle that day last year...problem with that is Seattle is also better and could be much better.
Seattle will win this game by 10 or more.....

Anonymous said...

Scott that was a darn good article and I am always going to wear black until they make a darker color. GO PANTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Donald Coupez said...

Panther's over the Hawks, seriously? That is laughable. The Hawks will not beat the Panthers, they will decimate them. Please prepare to eat a healthy serving of crow following this disaster. Seattle is on fire and Carolina will be nothing more than a mild breeze as the Hawks explode into a hurricane. The score? Seattle 45 Carolina 10

Anonymous said...

Russell "All Everything" Wilson drops 40 points on the Panthers!

Anonymous said...

The Panthers front seven on defense is the strength of the team from all that I have read. In order for Carolina to win this game they must stop Seattle's run first game plan. Lynch and company are tough. If they get going, Russell Wilson will then get after it in the passing game. Carolina's defensive backfield will give up some big plays I think. Cam Newton is a great young QB, but his body language after a frustrating play needs improvement. This is a tell that Seattle will not overlook.

I see a Seattle win 20-13 in a good game.

MP ASU 2003 said...

I love you Scott!
I love all Observer sports writers!
And I LOVE Cam Netwon and Jerry Richardson!
I think Armani Sucks! CUT THE WATERBOY!

ASU 2003

Anonymous said...

Oh well, so much for predictions. At least the panthers gained 58 more yards than they did last year against Seattle.

Go Hawks