By Dave Thomas
For the Seattle Seahawks, this past Sunday’s 27-24 overtime setback in Cincinnati to the Bengals may have been one of the more painful losses in recent memory.
At one point, Seattle (2-3) held a 24-7 lead and seemed to be on its way to a third victory on the season. As the Seahawks would ultimately find out, however, they would fly back to the Pacific Northwest with their third loss of the season, losses that easily could have been wins (albeit except for the Green Bay defeat perhaps).
So, can the Seahawks rebound this Sunday and perhaps this time knock off another undefeated team in their second shot at such a scenario?
Panthers Rolling Along At 4-0
When Cam Newton and the Carolina panthers roll into Seattle this Sunday, the second-place team in the NFC South will come to town with renewed confidence and a bit of a chip on their shoulders.
Remember, it was just this past playoff season when the Seahawks sent Newton and Co. home for the year with a defeat in the NFC playoffs.
The 2015 edition of Carolina has seen the team settle into a game behind unbeaten Atlanta (5-0) in its division, with a number of NFL experts saying the division race will be a two-team affair the rest of the way.
As for the aforementioned Newton, he has thrown for 809 yards and seven touchdowns, including a 315-yard performance in a win against division foe New Orleans.
Newton’s top targets to date have been tight end Greg Olsen (243 yards receiving) and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (206 yards).
When it comes to the ground game, a familiar face leads Carolina to date, with Jonathan Stewart tallying 220 yards and Newton himself racking up 195 yards through four games.
As for Carolina’s defensive side of the ball, the Panthers have not exactly been the most dominating defense in the NFL, but they’ve done enough to keep their mark perfect after four weeks of action.
Linebacker Thomas Davis leads the way for Carolina with 36 total tackles, with defensive ends Mario Addison and Ryan Delaire each accounting for a pair of sacks, respectively. When opposing offenses attempt to throw on the Panthers, they must deal with corner Josh Norman (four interceptions to date this season).
Seattle’s Second Chance
After failing in their attempt last Sunday to unseat one more team from the ranks of the unbeatens, the Seahawks get a second chance this Sunday.
Some around the league have been mumbling that this year’s Seattle team lacks that killer instinct, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
If the Seahawks can send a message this weekend like they did a few weeks back against Chicago at home (26-0 victory), there may be a few less people talking about this Seattle team, albeit in a negative manner.
For the all-time series between the two teams, the Seahawks hold a 7-2 lead, including this past January’s 31-17 playoff victory in Seattle.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.