Panthers, Seahawks Figure To Play A Lot Of Defense This Saturday
After getting past the Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers face another NFC West team in the playoffs, but this time, the Panthers will have to go on the road.
Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks – Saturday, January 10
Sports betting line: Seahawks -11
Why Carolina Will Win
This is a game that almost everyone thinks will be won by Seattle, but Carolina truly has a realistic chance of winning the game outright. The thing you have to appreciate about this matchup is that Carolina’s defense regularly bothers Seattle’s offense. In 2012, Seattle won, but only by a score of 16-12. In 2013, Seattle won, but only by a score of 12-7. This season, Seattle won, but only by a score of 13-9. The Panthers simply do not allow the Seahawks to score very much. These teams always get into defensive slugfests when they play each other. Games are regularly tight, and so you can see that as long as Carolina’s defense continues to do its thing, the Panthers can trail by only a few points late in the game. If they can convert one big drive in a pressure situation, they can pull out a 19-16 or 16-14 win in an ugly game that the Panthers don’t mind playing.
Seattle has the number 27 passing offense in the NFL, so Carolina has a very realistic chance of winning if it can take away the Seahawks’ ground game with Marshawn Lynch and force Russell Wilson to beat them with downfield passes, especially on third downs. If Carolina can make Seattle a predictable team, chiefly by stopping first-down runs and making Seattle throw the ball only when it has to, the Panthers could cause serious trouble, even though they’re on the road in a night game in front of some of the NFL’s loudest fans. It’s not odd at all to think that Carolina can hold Seattle under 20 points, in which case a turnover or a kick return could be all the Panthers need to pull off the upset.
Why Seattle Will Win
When you look at how well the Seahawks’ defense has been playing over the past six games, it’s really hard to see how Carolina will score anything more than 13 points in this game. The Seahawks just do not allow touchdowns – none in their last 10 quarters of action – and they haven’t allowed more than seven points in five of their last six games. They allowed 14 points to Philadelphia a month ago on Dec. 7, and seven of those points were the result of a botched punt that set up the Eagles deep in Seahawk territory. This defense just doesn’t make very many mistakes, and everyone’s communicating so well to create a blended, seamless unit. It’s hard to see how Carolina’s receivers are going to make plays down the field against the Seattle secondary. That’s going to be necessary for the Panthers to pull out a victory, but when you see Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas locking things down, it’s hard to envision that happening.
Who Will Win
The Seahawks have legitimate concerns on offense, which is why Carolina will cover the spread. However, Seattle’s defense will not allow the defending champions to lose this game outright at home. Seattle will win by eight points.
NFL Betting Pick: Panthers +11