The Carolina Panthers got pretty closer to winning a division title last season, despite going through a multitude of difficulties, including a coach being fired and the trade of one of the best players in football (Christian McCaffrey).
Then they made a bold move in the off-season when they made a trade with the Chicago Bears to land Bryce Young, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama, with the top pick in the draft.
But now his development is being put on hold for a week or two while he deals with an injury, and an old veteran will be taking his place as the Panthers, who have lost their first two games, travel to the Pacific Northwest for a date with the Seattle Seahawks. It's a 4:05 PM ET kickoff at Lumen Field.
Here are the NFL betting odds at BetOnline:
Seattle Seahawks -5
Carolina Panthers +5
Over 42 points -110
Under 42 points -110
Young will be held out of this game with a sprained ankle. Jake Luton, the former Oregon State quarterback, was signed this week as an insurance policy, but getting the start will be grizzled veteran Andy Dalton, who, it should be noted, faced this Seattle defense last year as a member of the New Orleans Saints and directed them to a 39-32 victory.
Dalton has thrown for more than 38,000 yards in his career, and he is now playing for his fifth team in five years. He is obviously at the opposite end of the spectrum of experience from Young, who made only two starts.
So you can expect that this game will be played a bit different on offense on the part of the Panthers. Dalton will probably be taking some chances down the field, but hell need some time to get that done and he has never been too elusive in the pocket.
And he doesn't have a wide variety of receiving talent to avail himself of. The team didn't really have that from the beginning.
Shaq Thompson is out for the Seahawks, otherwise the pass rush would be even more of a problem for Dalton.
Seattle has been burned by quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff in the two games thus far, and although that is no guarantee the same thing is going to happen with Dalton, the 'Hawks have a ways to go before they can become a formidable secondary.
Young was tentative, without question. That's been the story with many rookie quarterbacks, and the fact that Young is not necessarily a scrambler wouldn't have helped his cause. The Panthers have averaged more yards per rushing attempt than passing attempt.
So they're not "explosive," per se. At least the Seahawks have a functioning quarterback (Geno Smith), who have carried over some of the mastery he had over the offense last year. The receivers - DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett - are dangerous. The biggest problem is the offensive line, which has been banged up.
In a way, you avoid some of the rookie mistakes when you take Young out of the lineup. On the other hand, you have someone who runs the risk of being old, tried and immobile. If they can afford Dalton some time to throw, however, he has a couple of dependable guys (Adam Thielen, DJ Chark) to go get it and a ground game that is more than serviceable with Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard. The defense is solid, so we may just have ourselves a ball game. Take.
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