This Sunday (9/24/23) brings a matchup between the 0-2 Carolina Panthers and the 1-1 Seattle Seahawks. Get the Panthers vs. Seahawks preview featuring predictions, odds, depth charts, injuries, and best bets. Our best bet for this game is Seahawks -5.5.
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview & Prediction
Panthers vs. Seahawks Prediction: Seahawks -5.5
In Week 2, the Panthers continued what now looks like an uphill battle, while Seattle bounced back from a Week 1 loss quite convincingly with an overtime win in Detroit.
Bryce Young is still working through the growing pains of being a rookie quarterback but that may not matter this week. As of Thursday, Young sat out of practice for a second-straight day with an ankle injury that now has Andy Dalton expected to start on Sunday.
This offense is last in the league in passing yards per game (133) and near-last in several other categories: completion percentage (59.15%), yards per play (4.1), and red zone scoring percentage (40%). Unsurprisingly, this has them last in points per game (13.5) through their first two games.
They have relied more heavily on their run game so far which is actually averaging 127 yards per game (9th) and five yards per rush (4th). This is mostly through the hands of Miles Sanders who is handling over 60% of the teams’ carries, so expect the Seahawks defense to work around controlling him.
A bright spot of this team is their front seven and pass rush, which has held opposing teams (Atlanta and New Orleans) to an average of 149 passing yards per game (4th) and totaled eight sacks across two games. This may be dampened going forward as star linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 and cornerback Jaycee Horn is now on injured reserve. Two injuries they couldn’t afford.
Meanwhile, things are looking up in Seattle. Last week, Geno Smith returned to 2022 form with 328 passing yards and a 78% completion rate, finding Tyler Lockett in the endzone twice and Kenneth Walker added two more himself. This offense has an elite trio of receivers, a great quarterback, and a good running game that should be able to exploit this Carolina defense. Up front, the offensive line was down two starters and only forfeited one sack although they allowed 15 QB pressures. They face a talented but injury-ridden front seven this week so it should be a decent matchup.
The Seattle defense is forfeiting the second-most yards per game (422) but their run defense has improved since last season as it’s averaging under 100 opponent rushing yards per game. They may get some reprieve this week facing Andy Dalton.
It’s hard not to choose the Seahawks here given all of the unfortunate circumstances in Carolina and the stellar performance from Seattle last week in Detroit. At home with the 12’s, Seattle can win convincingly here.
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks Betting Odds
This line has seen movement throughout the week as Seattle has moved from 4-point favorites to 5.5 to 6.5-point favorites at some books. The question mark surrounding Bryce Young and a poor Week 2 performance is contributing here. It’s too early to tell how these two teams will pan out from a betting perspective, but so far Seattle has the edge.
Also of note is that last season, Carolina came to Seattle as 3.5-point road underdogs, dominated, and won. I don’t see that happening again, especially given the injuries, but the Hawks will still have to play their best to beat this team.
Both teams are dealing with a few key injuries here. Carolina lost Shaq Thompson for the year as well as Jaycee Horn for the foreseeable future, while Bryce Young is expected to sit out with an ankle injury.
In Seattle, several players are listed as questionable with soreness but Tariq Woolen will almost certainly be sitting out for Week 3. Outside of him, Charles Cross is still listed as questionable, Abraham Lucas is still on IR, and Jamal Adams likely has 1-2 more weeks before he sees the field.
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for the Panthers vs. Seahawks game below.
Panthers Front Seven vs. Seahawks O-Line
The Seahawks offensive line took a big hit when they lost Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas in Week 1. While Lucas is on the injured reserve, Cross is listed as questionable for this week’s game so that will be something to monitor. Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe took over for them last week and held off a vicious Lions pass rush very well, but still allowed 15 QB pressures on Geno Smith.
This week, they face a Panthers front seven with a 12.7% sack rate, which puts them third in the league behind just the Cowboys and the Commanders. Although the loss of Shaq Thompson is a big hole in this front seven, Derrick Brown, Frankie Luvu, and DeShawn Williams are all threats to a weak offensive line.
Running Backs vs. Seahawks Run Defense
This feels like the most intriguing matchup in this game. Last season, Carolina came to Seattle and lit up this run defense, embarrassing them for 223 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. This will not be forgotten by either team heading into this game.
Miles Sanders will likely take the majority of the workload this week, but considering the quarterback situation, it’s likely that Hubbard and the rest of the running game gets plenty of snaps as well. If the offense can work their way down the field, they will likely score, as Seattle’s defense currently boasts a 100% opponent red zone scoring percentage and averages two rushing touchdowns against them per game (28th).
The Seattle run defense seems to have worked through some of their issues last season, but let’s check back on that after Week 9. Right now, opponents are averaging 2.9 yards per rush and 97 total rushing yards against them, a huge improvement year-over-year. For them, this matchup will be about forcing Carolina to throw the ball but keeping them out of the red zone if they run.