Marshawn Lynch is out for the Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings game. Now, NFL analysts wonder if Lynch being out will keep the Seahawks from beating the Vikings in this wild card playoff. A report from ESPN.com states that despite participating in practice all week with the team, that Lynch decided that he couldn’t play in the game on Sunday, January 10.
This could have been the first game for Lynch since he underwent surgery on his abdomen on November 25. He missed quite a few regular season games due to injuries, playing in parts of just seven games for the Seahawks. When backup running back Thomas Rawls got injured, the hope from fans was that Lynch would return in time for the 2016 NFL Playoffs. While head coach Pete Carroll continued to tell the press that Lynch “would play” in the postseason, it appears that the Pro Bowl running back isn’t confident in his health.
So, can the Seattle Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings with Marshawn Lynch out? The Seahawks did just beat the Vikings in Week 13. The 38-7 victory took place in Minnesota, where the teams will face off again in the first-round of the playoffs. Russell Wilson completed 21-of-27 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, Thomas Rawls rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries, and Wilson added 51 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Wilson made it look easy as the Seahawks destroyed the Vikings at their own stadium.
One of the big keys to the first game was how dominating the Seahawks were on defense. The team held Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to just 118 passing yards and limited All Pro running back Adrian Peterson to just 18 rushing yards. The only touchdown that the Vikings put on the board was a 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Peterson in the third quarter. Outside of that touchdown return, the Vikings were kept in check for the entire 60 minutes. This could give Seahawks fans reason to believe a first-round playoff upset could take place.
Despite falling short against the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings went on to win the NFC North this season. The Vikings finished the regular season with an 11-5 record, outscoring opponents 365-302 on the season. The Seahawks posted a 10-6 record, outscoring opponents 423-277. The Seahawks also finished with the best scoring defense in the NFL for the fourth consecutive year, showing that the team might be as dominant on defense as it has ever been. That could be put to the test in some frigidly cold temperatures Sunday.
Without Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks will primarily turn to Christine Michael in the running game. Michael has looked good since returning to the Seahawks, possibly carrying on where Lynch and Rawls left off this season. In Week 15, Michael ran for 84 yards on just 16 carries against the Cleveland Browns. Then in Week 17, Michael ran for 102 yards on just 17 carries against the Arizona Cardinals. In three games, Michael has rushed for 192 yards on just 39 carries, putting him at an average of about 4.9 yards per carry. That would rank with the best running backs in the NFL over a full season.
A report from CNN.com is calling the weather forecasted for the Seahawks vs. Vikings game to be “insanely cold.” The high temperature has been updated to be around 0 degrees Farenheit for the game. The wind chill is expected to drop that temperature even further, likely making it one of the coldest NFL games on record. That mark is held by the “Ice Bowl” of 1967, where it reached -13 degrees. Marshawn Lynch could have helped a lot by providing an additional rushing threat, because both teams will likely try to run the ball a lot. In games without him, though, the Seahawks went 7-2 in the 2015 NFL season.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]