Did that win over the Vikings really happen? Wow. I'm not even sure what to say. Regardless, the Seahawks are traveling to Carolina this weekend and will surely be playing in better weather conditions than they faced in Minnesota last week. Current local weather agencies project the game in Charlotte on Sunday for a high of 48 degrees and with a low of 24 degrees. The conditions of Sunday's upcoming game will be much, much better than the frigid wasteland they encountered last week. .
However, some fans are incredibly worried about Russell Wilson and the offense's performance on Sunday.
Per Sam "Hawkbadger," quarterbacks have historically performed significantly worse in colder weather.
Before yesterday, the average QB stat line in sub-0°F games since the merger: 15/28, 182 yards, .9 TD, 1 INT, 70.9 rating— Sam HawkBadger (@hwkbgr) January 11, 2016
In my view, this is similar to when Seattle was preparing for Arizona in Week 17. Prepping for the Cardinals, Seattle had just come off a rough performance against the Rams where the offense had only scored 17 points. Those boys then proceeded to walk into University of Phoenix stadium and drop 36 on the Cardinals.
For the most part, I am choosing to evaluate this offense on their last two months of production - not on a uniquely unusual game in sub-zero temperatures. Just my two cents.
With that preamble out of the way, let's dive in to three things to watch for in Sunday's game.
As you probably know, the Seahawks have had problems defending tight ends in the past, and it might be one of the most frustrating flaws of this team. When Carolina marched into Seattle in week 6, Greg Olsen led his team in receiving with 7 receptions for 131 yards. With 30 seconds left in the game, Cam Newton launched a bullet to Olsen for the game-winning touchdown. To put it lightly, the Cam to Olsen connection exposed the TE weaknesses of Seattle's secondary.
According to Football Outsiders, Seattle ranks 26th defensively in DVOA against tight ends. Not good. However, there is some good news: since Week 11, Seattle has not given up more than 60 receiving yards to a tight end. Has Seattle solved their tight end problem? I'm not so sure. Undoubtedly, they'll be tested on Sunday. Watch for Cam to target Greg Olsen often.
Last year, when the Panthers battled the Seahawks in the Divisional Round at the CLink, Kam was big time. He was stellar in coverage -- and essentially ended the game in his 80-yard pick six on Cam Newton. Last week in Minnesota, Kam forced an Adrian Peterson fumble. AP's fumble was one of the main momentum shifting plays that led to the Seahawks' victory. Despite several lapses in coverage here and there, Kam made some impressive plays.
I would love to see Kam build off of the Minnesota game and cause some turnovers against Carolina.
Bruce Irvin & the Pass Rush
Per Brian Nemhauser, Bruce Irvin has logged 7 sacks in 4 career games against the Panthers. Bruce loves to go Panther hunting. In all seriousness, it would be huge for Seattle and their defensive line if Irvin were able to reach Cam and shake his confidence.
If the Seahawks want to start off hot -- they'll have to reach Cam early, knock him around a little bit, and shake him up. It'll be a key to the game.