The start of the 2013 season won’t be easy for the Carolina Panthers, they face one of this year’s Super Bowl favorites, the Seattle Seahawks. Cam Newton will lead the new look, up-tempo Carolina offense vs. one of the league’s best defensive backfields. It’s hard to imagine Carolina putting up a lot of points in this one; it’s even harder to imagine their receivers consistently beating Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner in coverage.
Newton and co. may be able to make some noise using the zone-read to draw defenders up to play the run, creating passing lanes for Newton. However, teams have had a full offseason to prepare for the zone-read and Seattle’s DBs are talented enough to play on an island vs. the Panthers’ receivers, even Steve Smith.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers will have trouble as well. Their front seven is solid, but their secondary will have a hard time containing the Seahawks’ receivers. Quarterback Russell Wilson is a smart signal caller who minimizes mistakes; the addition of Percy Harvin will give him a game-changing playmaker that will make Seattle’s offense even more dangerous.
Even if the Panthers can contain Wilson, they still have one of the league’s most potent run games to deal with. Marshawn Lynch is coming off of a career year and is an angry runner that is hard to stop. The Seahawks’ offensive balance makes them tough to contain.
I think the Panthers will keep things close for a while, but Seattle just has too many weapons on both sides of the ball.
Final Score: 21-13 Seahawks