With the divisional round of the NFL playoffs nearing, the Seattle Seahawks are fortunate to still be playing. It took a missed 27-yard field goal by Vikings kicker Blair Walsh to defeat Minnesota last Sunday, which sets up an epic matchup against the top-seeded Carolina Panthers this weekend.
Having won seven of their last eight games, Seattle is peaking at the right time, and might be getting one of their top offensive playmakers back as well. Running back Marshawn Lynch was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, which serves as an encouraging sign that he’ll suit up against Carolina. Lynch has been recovering from abdominal surgery and hasn’t seen live game action since Week 10.
Despite practicing all of last week, Marshawn surprisingly ruled himself out for the game against the Vikings, and didn’t even make the trip to Minnesota with his team.
Although ‘Beast Mode’ has been the key to this team’s success in recent years, the Seahawks have actually played better this season with Lynch on the sidelines. They have gone 3-4 with Lynch in uniform, and 7-2 in games that he sat out.
However, this is a result of quarterback Russell Wilson’s stellar play recently, as the Seahawks are a much more dangerous team with Lynch on the field. Taking on Carolina’s vaunted defense this week, Wilson will need some help from a strong ground game that was sorely lacking last week (27 carries, 97 yards).
Otherwise, Carolina will improve to 16-1 on the season, while Seattle will miss the Super Bowl for the first time in three years. And none of us want to think about how boring Media Day will be if Marshawn isn’t there.