Cam Newton has had a very unforgettable start to the 2012 season. He has looked good at times and mostly bad at other times. His turnover rate is much higher than expected through the first 4 games of the season. It’s alarming to say the least as many predicted the Panthers to have a playoff caliber team coming into this year. With that being said, it was not his fault the Panthers lost to Atlanta this past Sunday after a series of unfortunate events led to a game winning field goal in the closing moments of the game with Newton watching from the sidelines.
The defense has been spotty and predictably easy to beat as the Panthers boast rookies at every level of the playing field. First round draft pick Luke Keuchly has shown his teammates good things thus far and has the potential to be a Pro-Bowl caliber linebacker. Josh Norman has been a pleasant surprise as the fifth round draft choice and his play making abilities in practice have translated into more playing time on the field as he now sports the starting role as the weak side corner. Throw in fourth round pick DE Frank Alexander and you have a tremendous amount of youth on the field. Though each rookie has had his bright spots, they will need to mesh with a new system and in a hurry if the Panthers are to have any chance at stopping opposing teams from scoring at will.
After a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers hope they can pick up the pieces this Sunday and salvage a win against a Seattle Seahawks team that boast a rookie QB in Russell Wilson. This game could be a deal breaker for both teams as they may be vying against one another for a wild card spot come seasons end.
This game will be all about two things: The Panthers high powered offense against the stingy and relentless Seahawks defense. The winner of this game could be decided with the first touchdown.
I expect a slow and methodical approach from head coach Pete Carrol's offense, limiting Russell Wilson to short yardage throws and a heavy dose of RB Marshawn Lynch. Can the Seahawks score enough points to hang with Cam Newton’s crew? Pete Carroll may want to open up his offense and allow Wilson to work his magic against the struggling Panthers defensive unit if they have any hopes of maintaining their winning ways.
On a higher note I might add that the Panthers have managed to stay relatively healthy so far this year. Typically they lose a key player at the start of every season and have done a good job keeping their health in order. This could mean more success later in the season as they continue to improve under second year coach Ron Rivera.
I’ll give a slight edge to the home team as the Panthers roll in this one. Prediction: Carolina Panthers 24 Seattle Seahawks 14.
Questionable: DB Marcus Trufant(back), Brandon Mebane(calf)
Out: DT John Moffitt(knee), DT Jaye Howard(foot)
Questionable: LB Jon Beason(shoulder, knee)
Doubtful: CB Chris Gamble(shoulder), Geoff Hangartner(knee)