Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Bryce Young’s status is in doubt due to an ankle injury that he is nursing on a short week after playing on Monday. Andy Dalton will start if Young is unable to play.
- Seattle’s defense has not performed well through the first two weeks of the season but they salvaged a win in Week 2.
- “Stoppable force against movable object” is the best way to describe the matchup between Carolina’s offense and Seattle’s defense.
- Seattle’s offense has struggled to get their ground game going and may be better served using their passing game weapons aggressively early.
How Carolina Will Try To Win ::
Carolina has passed the ball on 63% of their offensive plays so far this season but that rate is actually 6.9% lower than expected based on their game scripts. In Week 1, they lost an ugly, low scoring game against the Falcons and then did the same at home against the Saints in Week 2 on Monday night. Carolina is averaging 13.5 points through two games and has just over 500 combined yards in those outings. It has been a rough start to the Frank Reich/Bryce Young era in Carolina as the offense has appeared anything but explosive or efficient. Young is dead last in the NFL in yards-per-pass-attempt at 4.2, meaning that not only is Carolina reluctant to throw the ball, but when they do so they are not doing it well. Those decisions are likely correlated but still, it makes it difficult to threaten defenses when you are so inept in that area.
This week Carolina travels to Seattle for a matchup with a defense that has given up 30+ points in each of their first two games. Seattle’s defense is designed in a way that theoretically protects against big plays but also opens them up to intermediate level chunk plays. It will be interesting to see if Carolina can break out of their funk a bit this week after the Rams and Lions had their way with the Seahawks. Carolina’s offense currently ranks 31st in the league in yards-per-play, which is generally regarded as one of the more predictive stats for future performance. Meanwhile, Seattle’s defense ranks 30th in the league in yards-per-play allowed. This dichotomy leaves a scenario where something has to break. The likeliest outcome is somewhere in the middle. Carolina’s offense will improve from what we have seen and Seattle’s defense will not be shredded to the extent of the first two weeks. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young is unlikely to play in this game, leaving veteran QB Andy Dalton to take the reins. Dalton’s presence may result in a slightly more aggressive downfield attack, although Seattle’s conservative defense and deep coverage shells should keep the focus in the short to intermediate areas of the field. DJ Chark made his debut in Week 2 and his presence often opens things up for the teams he has played on, but this matchup does not lend itself to a high degree of downfield passing. Carolina will likely once again lean on the run to a greater degree than expected while using Adam Thielen, Hayden Hurst, and Jonathan Mingo as zone beaters as extensions of the running game and on intermediate routes.