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Seahawks DE Michael Bennett expected to be back Sunday

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has missed each of the past five games with a hamstring injury. In the five games that Bennett has missed, Seattle is yielding an average of 20.6 points per outing. In the six games he suited up prior to that, this unit gave up an average of just two touchdowns.

Needless to say, Seattle really needs to get Bennett back in the mix in order to continue its domination on the defensive side of the ball.

The good news here is that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll fully expects the talented veteran to be on the field when they host the Carolina Panthers Sunday night.

“He thinks he’s (Bennett) on. We have to get all the clearance from the doctors, trainers think he’s in great shape and ready to go, so we’re counting on him playing. He’s very positive about it, really looking forward to getting back,” Carroll said this week, via The News Tribune.

Bennett racked up three sacks in the first six games of the season and was among the league leaders in quarterback pressures before going down with the hamstring injury.

What’s good news for Seattle may be the final nail in the coffin for the Carolina Panthers’ playoff hopes. Already having a less-than-stellar matchup with Mike Remmers being forced to protect Cam Newton’s blindside against Cliff Avril, this just adds another issue for Carolina’s disastrous offensive line.

Newton has been sacked a total of 24 times in 10 games this season and has consistently found himself under pressure. If Bennett is able to return healthy and rested, it could very well spell doom for the four-win Panthers.

Yardbarker: NFL