Scott Fowler

Carolina Panthers’ key: Throw at Richard Sherman or face doom

Cam Newton said last week he will throw at all-everything Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman Sunday – and he had better.

If you don’t go after Sherman to some extent, you shrink the available field to throw in by a third. It makes it too easy for Seattle’s safeties to cover everything else, and too difficult to ever get big chunks of yardage.

And Newton will need at least one explosive play Sunday from one of his receivers. In 2012 and 2013 in home games against Seattle, Newton hasn’t had a pass play of more than 27 yards in either game. That contributed mightily to the fact that Carolina’s offense has only scored one TD combined in those two games (the other TD was a pick-six interception return by Captain Munnerlyn) and that Newton has thrown for less than 150 yards in both of them.

Russell Wilson, on the other hand, threw for 320 yards in Seattle’s 12-7 win in 2013.

•  I thought Panthers safety – and former North Carolina defensive back – Tre Boston had a good point when he was talking about UNC’s academic fraud scandal this week. He said it had devalued his own degree, which he said he obtained in 3.5 years with no “paper” classes.



“Luckily I’m playing here,” Boston said. “But one day I’m going to have to use that degree out in the world and I don’t want somebody to be like, ‘Hey, you were there when all the academic fraud stuff went down.’ So it’s kind of sad.”

•  You know that Wilson once starred at N.C. State. But do you remember that Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka went there for a single season in 2007 after transferring from Division III Middlebury College, where he originally played soccer? And how about J.R. Sweezy? The Seahawks’ starting right guard is from Mooresville and started as a junior and senior in Raleigh as a defensive tackle before the Seahawks converted him to the offensive line.



•  I am 4-2-1 picking the Panthers’ outcome. The Seahawks’ defense has gone downhill some from last year’s No. 1 unit, but it hasn’t dropped nearly as far as Carolina’s. My prediction: Seattle 30, Carolina 20.



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