The Carolina Panthers are the only team in the NFC South NOT undefeated, which might be one of the most surprising statements through the start of the 2023 NFL season imaginable. And in Week 3, they head on the road as NFL betting underdogs for a date with the Seattle Seahawks, who are fresh off their first win of the year, a 37-31 overtime victory against the Detroit Lions.
While the Panthers have lost two close games to the Atlanta Falcons (24-10) and New Orleans Saints (20-17), they’ve dealt with some struggles offensively, specifically through the air, averaging just 149.5 passing yards per game. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young, who has under 300 yards on the season with just two touchdowns and two interceptions, is not expected to play due to an ankle injury.
Looking at the other side of this game, the Seahawks, and specifically quarterback Geno Smith picked up where he left off last season. Smith appears to still be hitting his stride and playing at a high level, completing 48-of-67 passes for 440 yards and three touchdowns through two games.
Let’s dive into the Panthers vs. Seahawks matchup a bit more and offer up this week’s NFL picks.
Panthers vs Seahawks Game Information
• Game: Panthers (0-2) vs Seahawks (1-1)
• Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 24 / Time: 4:05 pm ET
• Location: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA
• Panthers vs Seahawks Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
With Young Out, Ride Hot Hand With Geno Smith?
Statistically speaking, this should have been a great spot for the Panthers rookie signal-caller to finally break through and have his “welcome to the NFL” moment. The Seahawks have allowed 328.5 passing yards per game. It’s a good spot for backup Andy Dalton to air it out, especially since the Seahawks have allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards per game.
Panthers’ QB Andy Dalton is now expected to start Sunday at Seattle. pic.twitter.com/5wFJXIa0T4
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 21, 2023
It’ll also be interesting to see how the Seahawks can maximize Kenneth Walker in the running game, and while he struggled a bit at times last week, he has the big-play potential to break a game wide-open. Walker averaged 5.3 yards per carry in Week 1, tallying 64 yards on 12 carries, and even while Walker didn’t have a great yards per attempt last week, he still found the end zone twice as well.
The Seahawks enter this matchup as a -6½ point favorite and being able to grab Seattle at home for under a touchdown should make them one of the more interesting NFL expert picks. But it’s tough to envision Carolina flying across the country and grabbing this win, so I think Seattle gets it done by double-digits.
Predicted Score: Seattle Seahawks 28, Carolina Panthers 17
Panthers vs Seahawks Betting Odds
Panthers vs Seahawks Best Bets
It’s hard not to like the Seahawks at home against a winless team with a rookie quarterback. This one has the narrative you look for in a great matchup and great NFL betting spot, but it also smells like a trap game if I’ve ever seen one. All that said, I don’t expect any reason why the Seahawks would overlook Carolina here, and any way I try to spin it, the NFL predictions for Week 4 point to a victory for the home team.
I think we see Geno Smith put together a great performance while Kenneth Walker bounces back for the rushing attack and the Seahawks cover this one at home.
NFL Pick: Seattle Seahawks -6½
Two Ways to Target Total in Panthers vs Seahawks
I’m a bit more iffy on the total in this game, admittedly. It’s currently set at 42, and while there should be a decent amount of faith in Seattle’s offense, Carolina does need a win here, which could lead to a few more defensive stops than anticipated, especially early on.
If I had to lean one way on the projected total, I’d take the over with the expectation that the Panthers will put points on the board in a spot where Dalton should be able to have a solid game. Overall, teasing the total with the line is probably the smartest play here, so I’ll go that route by moving the Seahawks to a pick and taking the under 48.5.