3 pivotal matchups the Carolina Panthers must win at Seahawks in Week 3

The Carolina Panthers have to win these matchups in Week 3.

Jonathan Mingo
Jonathan Mingo / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers LB Kamu Grugier-Hill vs. Seahawks run game

The Carolina Panthers were already struggling against the run before losing Shaq Thompson to a season-ending leg injury. But now the real test will begin as Kamu Grugier-Hill steps up.

Grugier-Hill performed admirably in relief of Thompson against the New Orleans Saints, seemingly anywhere and everywhere all at once, making an immediate impact from the linebacker position. However, this is an incredibly small sample size against a team that was not prepared for the journeyman linebacker.

This does not discount just how spectacular of a performance Grugier-Hill had on Monday night. The linebacker nearly equaled the totals for tackles with the Arizona Cardinals last year over nine games in just half a start.

However, Grugier-Hill has only started a full season once in his career. There is a reason for that and a reason the player was made available in the offseason.

With the emergence of Frankie Luvu, the team has had a recent track record of finding hidden gems at the linebacker position while also taking some fairly large misses as well. So it remains to be seen what category this particular move fits into.

The Seattle Seahawks are more than capable of exploiting any weaknesses as they have a very potent run game. When given the opportunity to exploit an inferior defense, that is, as the team struggled mightily against a stiff Detroit Lions defensive front in Week 2.

One can only hope those struggles continue into Week 3 and the Panthers can somehow control the line of scrimmage. Something that will be essential with Young out of the lineup.

There will be a drop-off from Thompson, this is a given. What remains to be seen is just how far it drops and what the team can do to mitigate that.