The Panthers are not as good as their regular season record implies.
In their 15-game undefeated stretch, the Panthers had six games (one in overtime) decided by an average of 4.2 points: an extremely tight margin. The last time these two teams squared off (Week 6), Carolina ultimately won on a touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining on the clock in regulation.
This is a very different Seahawks team than in Week 6, however. Down the stretch (between Weeks 10 and 15), Doug Baldwin, Seahawks’ wide receiver, has 10 touchdowns. If Marshawn Lynch is not sidelined, he, coupled with Russell Wilson’s sensational improvisational skills, will spread Carolina’s defense thin, making them susceptible to huge gains downfield.
Although the Legion of Boom struggles to cover tight ends and the Panthers are equipped with one of the best in the league (Greg Olsen), expect Seattle to make defensive adjustments from Week 6 and be able to handle him. The key to a Seahawks’ victory will be the containment of Newton in the pocket, especially with Richard Sherman, one of the best cornerbacks in the league, neutralizing WR Ted Ginn,
Expect the Seahawks to pull an upset special in North Carolina Sunday afternoon.