The Seattle Seahawks take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The game is scheduled to kickoff on Sunday at 1:05 PM. ET.
The Seahawks received a miracle when Minnesota’s kicker Blair Walsh missed a chip shot field goal in the final seconds, sealing an improbable Seattle victory. The Seahawks now must travel to Carolina to face Cam Newton and the 15-1 Panthers. Seattle’s improbable victory in the Wild Card round is now poised to propel them on a long playoff run.
The Panther’s are coming off a bye week. Cam Newtown has overcome his critics and delivered a MVP caliber season. He threw for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions on the season. His passing numbers are strong but it’s his rushing number that stands him apart from other MVP candidates. Newton has rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a total of 4473 yards and 45 touchdowns. Newton’s ability to extend plays and create opportunities with his feet will only continue in the playoffs.
The status of Marshawn Lynch is a major question mark heading into this weekend’s matchup. Seattle managed to rush for 97 yards on 28 carries. Seattle’s leading back rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries. Wilson was second on the team with 21 yards on five attempts. The Seahawks are a totally different team with Lynch in the backfield compared to when he’s not. The entire identity of Seattle changes when Lynch plays with toughness and grit. He gives the offense an edge that cannot be duplicated otherwise. If Lynch is unable to go Sunday, then expect Wilson and the passing attack to shoulder the burden.
A player to watch on the Panthers this week is Doug Baldwin. Against the Vikings, Baldwin had five receptions on seven targets. His seven targets and 45 yards receiving were team highs. The weather was a major cause in Seattle’s Wild Card Victory over the Vikings. This week, extreme elements won’t factor into the outcome. That’s a good thing for the Seahawks passing attack. If Seattle is without Lynch, then Wilson will need to carry the team. Against the Vikings, the Seattle offense struggled to make big plays. Baldwin is Seattle best big play threat. The Seahawks need Baldwin to have a big game if they’re going to upset the Panthers on the road.
A player to watch on the Panthers this week is Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers running back has been out a month with a foot injury. Seattle held Minnesota to 58 rushing yards. The weather was a major cause, but the Seahawks managed to rush for 97 yards, so the Viking’s ineffective running cannot entirely be explained by poor weather. The Panthers will need to run effectively to win, and Stewart’s versatility would certainly aid in that endeavor.
The Panthers no longer have the weight of an undefeated season and that’s a good thing. The loss to Atlanta seems to have refocused them. Seattle’s last four playoff games have all ended in ridiculous fashion. Seattle’s defense has managed to keep them in games long enough for their offense to take control. This week will be no different. This game has classic written all over it.
With that said, Seattle is facing a tremendous task. Carolina will have the advantage of home field and the benefit of a bye week to get healthy.
Panthers Vs Seahawks Divisional Round Betting Lines
BetOnline.ag has the Panthers favored to win the game by 1 point. The over/under on total points scored is 44. You can read our full BetOnline review here.
Time of possession and turnovers are always huge factors in close games. If Seattle is going to upset Carolina, they’ll need to dominate time of possession and force Newton into committing turnovers. The Panthers might look ready for the moment, but don’t count out the improbable Russell Wilson in the clutch.
Play: Seahawks +1 @ BetOnline.ag
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