The Seahawks face a tough Panthers run defense today. Russell Wilson has to be creative, but Seattle still needs to run the ball to win.
When the Seahawks line up across from the Panthers today, they’ll face one of the league’s better run defenses. Carolina ranks seventh in rushing yards allowed and eighth in rushing touchdowns. Despite this, Seattle needs to stay with their run formula to win this critical road game.
Let’s look at the Panthers rushing defense to see if they’re really that good. Carolina allowed 534 yards on the ground in their four losses, an average of 133.5 yards. They just gave up 451 yards rushing in their six wins, an average of just 75 yards. That’s close to twice as many yards in losses.
The Panthers have only won a single game in which they allowed over 100 yards, and that was only 101 to the Baltimore Ravens. Conversely, only one of the four teams to beat them ran for less than 100. That was just last week, when the Lions ran for 94 yards. Carolina lost that game on a missed extra point and a failed two point conversion. The Seahawks can certainly run for well over 100 yards with their three-headed rushing attack.
Just as telling is the rushing attempts against Carolina. In their four losses their opponents ran the ball 116 times, an average of 29 carries. In their wins they saw only 114 running plays, an average of only 19 carries.
Which do you think fits the Seahawks game plan, 29 carries or 19? Seattle is averaging 32 yards per carry coming into today’s contest. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis need to get the ball in their hands, as in every game.
While I absolutely believe the Seahawks need to attack the Panthers on the ground, they’re truly vulnerable through the air. They’re ranked 21st in passing yards allowed and a dismal 30th in passing touchdowns allowed. Carolina has given up an average of 2.2 scores in their wins and 2.5 touchdowns in their losses. They’re giving up scores through the air in virtually every game.
In their six wins, the Panthers have allowed 1577 yards passing, an average of 262.8 yards per game. In their four losses Carolina gave up 962 yards through the air, an average of just 240.5 yards. Clearly you don’t have to throw the ball all over the yard to beat them.
Russell Wilson doesn’t have to go off for 300 yards today for the Seahawks to win. He does need to create on offense, though. He can’t make the big mistakes he’s made in losses. Carolina gives up a lot of passing touchdowns, but they also have 11 interceptions. With a strong running game from Chris Carson and smart play by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks will win in Carolina.