NFL Week 8 Preview & Odds: Seahawks vs. Panthers

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (+3.5, 45 o/u)

The Seattle Seahawks (3-3) and Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) are each struggling mightily coming into their much anticipated Week 8 showdown (Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Cam_Newton_during_the_2011_NFL_season.jpg

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (+3.5, 45 o/u)

The Seattle Seahawks (3-3) and Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) are each struggling mightily coming into their much anticipated Week 8 showdown (Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS).

Seattle had realistic aspirations to repeat as Super Bowl champs this year. But, after losing several key players in the offseason (in particular on defense) and playing .500 football through seven weeks, they are finding that establishing a dynasty is nigh impossible in today’s NFL.

After trading away star receiver Percy Harvin mid-week, the Seahawks looked a little shell-shocked against St. Louis last Sunday.  The Rams took advantage and ultimately stunned the defending champs 28-26.

“We’ve got work to do, we’ve got work to do to get consistent,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Compared to last year, Seattle’s defense has underperformed thus far, giving up 23.5 points per game.  “(There are) dudes with a lot of heart in here,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said.  “Like anywhere else, when you face adversity it’s how you respond.”

Meanwhile, the once elite Panthers defense hasn’t been any better. Just a season after carrying the team to a division title, the same Carolina defense is surrendering almost 28 points per game and 34.8 per game in its last five.

Despite the regression, Carolina still inexplicably leads the disappointing NFC South.  “We’re number one in the division right now, but if we continue to play the way we have it won’t last long,” admitted Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.

Looking at the other side of the ball, both offenses have performed well this year, a direct result of solid quarterback play from Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.  With their defenses struggling and injuries abounding, Newton and Wilson have been asked to do a lot for their respective teams. With running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both missing significant time this season, Newton enters the game as the Panthers’ leading rusher; meanwhile Wilson is second on the Seahawks, already piling up 327 yards and three touchdowns on the year.

Seattle is currently a 3.5-point favorite for Sunday.  The over/under is 45.

(Photo credit: Pantherfan11 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)