The Seattle Seahawks enter the 2013 NFL season hoping to build on the success they had from last season. With head coach Pete Carroll, the team went from so-so just about every year to a highly competitive team earning a playoff spot and an 11-5 record.
Squaring off against the Carolina Panthers, Carroll and his team will look to set the tone early for the season and make a statement that they are again one of the best in the NFL.
Russell Wilson surely had a magnificent rookie year. He was able to get it done through the air and on the ground, proving critics wrong that his lack of size would be a factor in his transition to the NFL. The 2013 season will again hinge on the play from Wilson, and Week 1 will be an early sign of whether or not he will succumb to the sophomore slump.
With a sensational young quarterback, the Seahawks also have one of the top running backs in the league in Marshawn Lynch. The man accumulated 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns last season on 315 touches. Lynch enters his seventh year in the league and has found himself a team that fits him perfectly.
While it will be highly unlikely we will see the kind of performance from Lynch against the Buffalo Bills last season (10 ATT, 113 YDS 1 TD) in Week 1 of this season, he will be a major factor in the game’s outcome and should see 20 to 30 carries.
On the other side of the ball, we have the Panthers, who boast another sensational quarterback in Cam Newton. Earning the nickname “Superman” from his toughness and style of play, Newton is oftentimes found in the end zone performing his ‘ripping the shirt’ celebration just like Clark Kent.
In his second season in the league last year, Newton struggled along with his entire team, and many wondered if he was a one-year phenomenon. After finally getting things going, Newton turned the switch and burned defenses in the latter half of the season.
Which Newton will come out in 2013? Most people are betting on him to have another big year and how he fares against the stingy defense of the Seahawks could show signs of good or bad things to come.
The bottom line with the Panthers is that their entire season depends on how Newton performs. If the Panthers are hoping to make it to the playoffs this year, it sure would help to be a more well-rounded team. Look for how many times the ball falls into Williams’ hands against the Seahawks, because it may be the tell tale sign of how the coaching staff will handle the offense this year.