Lynch has been out of the Seahawks' lineup since November 15th, when he underwent surgery to fix an abdominal issue that had been plaguing him all season. In typical Lynch fashion, he went through the rehab "his way," working out with a personal trainer down in San Francisco while the team went about their business trying to make it to the playoffs and give him a shot to return. Lynch practiced fully on Friday last week but at the last minute, pulled himself from the flight manifest when he simply felt that he could not go in Minnesota.
Because of that last-minute decision -- which came after Pete Carroll had told KIRO radio that he'd be playing -- the Seahawks have been predictably much more conservative in their estimates this week, repeatedly saying they'll just go "day-to-day" with Lynch and see how it goes at game-time.
The good news is that the weather in Carolina is a balmy 43-degrees at time of publishing, with a projected high of 46 for gameday. Not exactly hot, per se, but compared to -15 degree windchill, it's not going to be a factor that keeps Lynch from playing.
If Lynch is ready to go, in my mind it should be a good thing for Seattle. The offensive line loves to block for him, the Panthers will have to gameplan a little bit more to stop him, and it's just more depth and talent at the running back position. Seattle's done fine without Lynch since he went out, but let's not forget that this was the engine that ran the offense for the past few seasons.
Either way -- we'll see. I would think that based on his text to Mayne, Lynch believes he's ready to play on Sunday, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too much until he literally gets onto the field in the first quarter in Charlotte.