Panthers @ Seattle
Just a season ago this team was the NFC Champ, who held 9 point favorite going into the Super Bowl. As of Week 12 of 2016, they are stabilizing their ground at 4th place in the NFC South with underwhelming 4-7 record. They already have turned over the ball 21 times (4th most), and even with healthy Kelvin Benjamin, they don’t have any passaging game going on at this moment (22nd in yards, 18th in TD). Thanks to Cam Newton’s legs (5 rushing TD), at least they have scored 14 TD on the ground (3rd most). Therefore, their game plan should be simple. The Seahawks defense is very well balanced, but they are certainly better at slowing down the passing game. Cam hasn’t been efficient in the air (55.8% Completion Rate, and 13/8 TD/INT), so it wouldn’t be wise for them to force the issue against Richard Sherman and the company. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Seahawks are healthier than ever, so this would be a tough task for the struggling reigning NFC Champ. Expect everybody in this offense to struggle tonight, but expect to see huge volume for Jonathan Stewart and of course Cam Newton.
The Seahawks are probably no longer many people’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, but at least their offense has turned the corner. Except their struggle against the Buccaneers last week, they had scored least 26 points from Week 9 to 11 against the tough opponents. Obviously, the 2016 Panthers are not the “tough” matchup, and they even lost Luke Kuechly, the heart of their defense. The Raiders dropped 35 points last week to match their season high against the Kuechly-less Panthers, and the Seahawks should enjoy this vacation at home too. The Panthers have been great at pressuring the QB (31 Sacks, 3rd most), but the healthier Russell Wilson should know his way around in this game. He will test the water of 4th worst pass defense all they long, and expect everybody to benefit from it.
Doug Baldwin: 6 rec, 85 yards, 1 TD
Wilson’s bestie won’t be forgotten tonight.
Jimmy Graham: 5 rec, 70 yards, 1 TD
He is the most consistent pass catcher in this offense, and the superstar TE will shine once more.
Russell Wilson: 200 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, 2 TD
His legs are finally back. He attempted 8 rushes in back to back games, and he ran 80 yards against the Buccaneers. Healthy Wilson can certainly carve up the Kueckly-less Panthers D.
Cam Newton: 170 passing yards, 40 rushing yards, 2 TD, 1 TO
No matter what, Cam is the focal point of this offense (air or ground), and he should post tons of volume.
Jonathan Stewart: 60 yards, 1 TD
He has scored the most TD for this team (7), and the Panthers will try to open up the ground on this one.
Greg Olson: 5 rec, 60 yards, 1 TD
Cam’s favorite target should be involved heavily to create plays against the tough defense.
Thomas Rawls: 50 yards
He is the only healthy RB, but the Panthers are good at stopping the run, and Rawls hasn’t showed any flash this season yet.
Kelvin Benjamin: 3 rec, 50 yards
He is the only receiver you can trust in this offense, but he isn’t 100%, and it would be tough for Cam to deliver the ball to him tonight.