Kickoff: Sunday, December 11th, 4:25 PM ET
Location: Lumen Field, Seattle
Betting Odds: SEA -3.5, 44.0 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Sam Darnold (Sit), PJ Walker (Sit)
Looking at this line, I can’t decide if Vegas is lower than most on the Seahawks, or higher than most on the Panthers. I expected more than 3.5 with the game being in Seattle, but whatever the case may be, it is not thanks to the passing attack of the visiting team. Sam Darnold reemerged from an unknown location to start against the stout Broncos D a couple of weeks ago before the Panthers’ bye, and gave us one of the moments of the year, effectively rolling his way into the end zone.
There is not a lot to talk about here, Panthers fans have already begun a while back to make calculations about which draft slot they’ll get, and what kind of quarterback they can draft in 2023. Darnold nor Walker are the answer for you.
D’onta Foreman (Start, RB2)
The big point to be on the lookout for is in Foreman’s status heading into this game. The Panthers lead back is dealing with a foot issue, but seems likely to play, and if he does so, he’ll be a very intriguing option going up against a defense that’s the fourth worst in points allowed to opposing running backs.
Foreman is also on a very good run, having gained over 100 yards on the ground in two of his last three games. Even with a virtually non-existent passing game role, the matchup is simply too enticing. Look no further than the fact that the Los Angeles Rams, that NFL team averaging 4.7 yards per play, gained 171 on the ground against Seattle last week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DJ Moore (Start, WR3), Terrace Marshall Jr. (Sit), Shi Smith (Sit), Ian Thomas (Sit)
Moore is a very good receiver, but even with that fact pretty well established, there is only so much any human can do in this offense. The glass half full is that the Panthers’ number one wideout did catch 4 balls for over 100 yards and a score against the Broncos in his last game back with Darnold at the helm, and by default he’s a playable WR3, but trusting Sam Darnold to help Moore reach his full potential is not a bet any of us should be making right now.
Beyond Moore, there is nothing to look for in this passing attack. It’s literally on to the Seahawks, and let’s save some time.
Fun fact, the Panthers could very feasibly finish this week one game behind the Bucs for the division lead. Just one.
Geno Smith (Start, QB2)
Geno Smith can finish off the year playing like he has, with the Seahawks in the postseason, and I get the feeling, a lot of us will still be waiting for that regression to hit. Journeyman quarterbacks don’t just suddenly breakout this late in their careers, but that’s exactly what Genius Smith has done.
The Seahawks QB has a rating near 110 (108.7), a touchdown to interception ratio well over 3 to 1 (22 touchdowns and 6 picks), and currently leads the fifth highest scoring offense in the entire NFL (26.5 points per game).
I won’t sit on a high horse here, as I was as skeptical as the next guy, but at one point, you’re just fighting the numbers, and Geno is a high-end QB2 with a pro-bowl caliber season in 2022.
Kenneth Walker (Start, RB2) DeeJay Dallas (Sit, Flex if Walker is out), Tony Jones (Sit, Flex if Walker is out), Travis Homer (Sit)
Walker was injured in the Seahawks’ Week 13 win over the Rams, suffering what was described as a muscle strain in his ankle, and his status for this week is up in the air. As of right now, I’d plan for him to miss that game, but in case he gets the go-ahead against a Panthers’ D which is the eighth worst in points allowed to opposing backs, he gets the go-ahead as a RB2.
In case Walker misses time, your best bet to gain some help from this Seahawks backfield is to look at Tony Jones. No single back will dominate the snap shares with Walker out, and Jones isn’t a very exciting play in this scenario. Carroll may just ride the hot hand out of Dallas, Homer, and Jones, making it very hard to predict before the game who gets the nod.
However, despite getting only seven carries to Dallas’ ten, and not doing much with it, Jones received four targets, whereas Dallas only got one, and that’s the best we can look at, if Walker doesn’t play.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DK Metcalf (Start, WR2), Tyler Lockett (Start, WR2), Marquise Goodwin (Sit), Will Dissly (Sit), Noah Fant (Sit)
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle form the top duo in the world, and Chase and Higgins operate at a constant big-play threat sort of level not easily found, but in the land of mortals, Metcalf and Lockett, well, it may just be the top receiving duo out there. Earlier in the year, I ranked DK as a WR2 and Lockett as a WR3, but the production from the latter has spoken, and at this point, they both deserve WR2 nods.
Lockett was the WR11 in three of the past four seasons, and in 2022, he’s the WR12. With the Seahawks QB playing just as well as it has been, it makes sense, doesn’t it, and DK isn’t far behind as the WR16. Lockett has scored in his last five games, and both of them went off for over 100 yards last week at the Rams.
We’ve been waiting for the ball to drop for a while on the QB play, but it doesn’t look like it will happen.
If the byes have hit you hard, and you’re in dire shape, Marquise Goodwin is a playable gamble with a few good games on the year, but it’s not a play I’d consider unless I’m completely out of options.
Noah Fant is the hot hand at tight end with at least 32 yards and three catches in each of the past four weeks and can be played as a low-end TE2. Dissly has actually been getting a healthy dose of snaps on special teams for a while now, and thus not as many opportunities as the former Bronco on the offense.