The Seahawks look to win their first road opener since 2006 on Sunday against a Panthers team hoping to carry over its late-season success to 2013.
The Seahawks have the talent to again seriously contend in the NFC behind running back Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson.
The secondary of Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are among the best in the NFL. Seattle’s defense ranked sixth against the pass last season.
However, they could be short handed as Browner is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Cliff Avril is also a game-time decision suffering from a hamstring injury as well.
For those healthy on either side of the ball, Carroll hopes for better self-discipline after Seattle was flagged 42 times for 419 yards during a 4-0 preseason. The Seahawks’ 110 penalties were the sixth-most in the NFL last season, 13 of which came in a Week 1 loss at Arizona – their sixth straight defeat in a road opener.
In last year’s meeting, the Seahawks held Carolina to a season-low 190 total yards, 156 of which came on two possessions. The Panthers averaged 3.8 yards on their other nine.
Quarterback Cam Newton has combined for 62 touchdowns and thrown for 7,920 yards in his first two NFL seasons, but is 13-19 as a starter. He was 12 of 29 for a career-low 141 yards and sacked four times against the Seahawks.
Defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly led the league with 164 tackles last season.