Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings. While rumors throughout the week speculated that Lynch would be good to go for the game, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Seahawks will be without their star running back.
The #Seahawks officially ruled Marshawn Lynch OUT for the game. He told the team he felt like he couldn't do it. Stunner.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2016
Despite being listed as questionable to play throughout the week, Lynch was expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Hours before the news came out regarding Lynch being out, the Seattle Times reported that he should be in the starting lineup. In speaking to the media on Friday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sounded extremely optimistic regarding the chance that Lynch would be healthy enough to play.
“I have not said yet that he’s playing. I know that’s been out there, but I don’t know until we finish the week. He’s looked really good, and we’re hoping so. Very optimistic about it. He’s got to go tomorrow (Saturday) and make sure that he’s okay after today (Friday). It’s been a great week. He’s taken every rep that we needed him to this week.”
While NFL wide receivers are often in the lineup to be used as decoys, it is not a common practice for running backs. When Carroll was asked about the potential workload that Lynch would see, he did not believe there would be any restrictions.
“If he’s playing, he’s playing. And we’ll see how that works out”
According to the NFL Network, Lynch has not played in a game since November 15, and this was his first week back at practice.
JUST IN: After returning to practice earlier this week, Marshawn Lynch has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday's game. pic.twitter.com/UpnuSdjjmo— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 9, 2016
While it might sound absurd to say that the Seattle Seahawks might be better off without Marshawn Lynch in their lineup, this may at least allow them to go into Sunday’s game without a less than 100 percent running back. Quarterback Russell Wilson is easily having the best season of his career, and seems poised to take over as the true focal point of the offense. He has thrown for 4,024 yards with 34 touchdowns. He has also rushed for another 553 yards and a touchdown.
In the second half of the season, Wilson’s play has been at an elite level, and his chemistry with wide receiver Doug Baldwin has been better than ever. Since Week 9, Baldwin has an astonishing 12 touchdown receptions and three games with over 100 yards receiving.
Regardless of Wilson’s breakout season, temperatures are going to be cold on Sunday, and a strong running game would have been a huge help for the Seahawks offense. As of Friday, temperatures at kickoff are expected be around 0 degrees, with the possibility of it getting even colder as the game goes on. In Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have one of the greatest running backs of all time, so they are going to attempt to control the game by running the football.
Reports say the temperature in Minnesota at kickoff for the Vikings vs. Seahawks game will be 0 degrees. pic.twitter.com/gNf6DTJY6G— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) January 8, 2016
Without Lynch, the Seahawks running game is going to struggle. While backup running back Christine Michael had a great game against the Arizona Cardinals last week and has been solid since returning to the Seahawks, he is nowhere near as talented as Lynch. In addition to Michael, Bryce Brown will also get some carries sprinkled in, while Wilson is sure to have a few designed runs for himself.
While it is going to be more difficult for the Seahawks to defeat the Vikings on Sunday, they have been without their star running back for almost two months. They are playing their best football, and look to be among the hottest teams going into the playoffs. The good news for Seahawks fans is they could expect Lynch to return for the next round of the playoffs, as reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
Marshawn Lynch unable to go for the Seahawks Sunday. He hopes to be able to play in Divisional round— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 9, 2016
With the rumors of Marshawn Lynch missing Sunday’s game finally confirmed, the Seattle Seahawks will have to lean heavily on quarterback Russell Wilson. With Wilson playing the best football of his career, the Seahawks are poised for a victory against the Vikings.
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