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Josh Norman embraces challenge of playing Seahawks

As Blair Walsh's field-goal attempt sailed wide left Sunday afternoon in Minnesota, perhaps Vikings fans weren't the only ones lamenting the loss.

Carolina Panthers fans weren't thrilled at the prospect of facing a streaking Seattle Seahawks squad as opposed to the victor of the Green Bay Packers-Washington Redskins tussle.

Within the Panthers' locker room, however, those sentiments were quickly dismissed.

Every game, all season

"Why? Why would you want anything in life that is easy?" corner Josh Norman said Monday, via Black and Blue Review. "Shoot, man, if you don't go for it head on, then how can you say you are the best at anything? I think that is the way we are in our society. We want things the easy way and stuff to be given to us. We don't want to work for it. We want things to be handed to us. And I don't think that's the way it should be done. I think the way it has been set up is the right way."

Safety Roman Harper echoed Norman's sentiments.

"I didn't want to play anyone else," he told NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon. 

The Seahawks have won seven of their last eight contests, including Sunday's playoff tilt. The two-time reigning NFC champions enter the divisional bout with a potent offense led by Russell Wilson and a defense Michael Bennett called "better than any over the past four years."

The Panthers seem ready for the matchup, though.

"At this point in the season, everyone you play against is going to be a very good football team," coach Ron Rivera said Monday in regard to the Seahawks matchup.

At 15-1, the Panthers can lean on their 27-23 Week 6 victory over the Seahawks in Seattle for confidence.

"It helped validate who we are as a football team," Rivera said of the win.

Sunday will mark the sixth time the teams have played since Wilson was drafted. The Panthers always play the Seahawks tough, especially in Carolina.

With MVP frontrunner Cam Newton and one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Panthers have no reason to cower and hide.

As Norman noted, to be the best you need to beat the best. The Panthers can do just that on Sunday.

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