Feb. 04, 2016
How we got here
Carolina is coming off their bye week which was earned by being the 1st seed in the NFC and going 14-0 until losing to Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. Panthers wrapped up their season with a record of 15-1 with an win at Tampa Bay and is by far the best regular season in franchise history.
Seattle is coming off one of the most luckiest wins ever in history of the NFL. In the wildcard weekend, the Seahawks were losing to the Vikings 9-0 in the 4th quarter. Then scored a touchdown, stripped Adrian Peterson on the next possession then scored a field goal to take the lead 10-9.
Blair Walsh scored all of the Vikings points with 3 field goals but it doesn't matter.
Teddy Bridgewater and the offense had a great drive to set up the game winning field goal. Seconds left in the game, Walsh missed a chip shot field goal from 27 yards out which is even shorter then the easy PAT after a touchdown. Some are even calling it the biggest choke in history.
The Seahawks should be home right now watching the playoffs but thanks to an all time choke, they survive and get an chance for revenge on the Carolina Panthers who beat Seattle in Seattle with a game winning touchdown pass from the frontrunner MVP in Cam Newton.
Five Factors on why Seattle Seahawks will upset the Carolina Panthers
Seahawks 21, Panthers 17
Experience will be advantage to the Seattle. They have made it to the Super Bowl the last two years. Back the in 2013 season, they destroyed Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, earning their first championship. Last year they lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots but Seattle ended up blowing the game. It was first and goal with enough time to score but then Russel Wilson threw a pick to lose the game. Analysts and fans believed they should’ve ran the ball with the best running back in the league at that time for the score but that wasn't the case. Seattle Seahawks still have that bad taste in their mouth and I believe that their experience of what happened last year and their super bowl winning year will be an advantage. Panthers only have one playoff win from last year, against an backup QB Ryan Lindley and it wasn't a pretty game to watch.
2. The Running Game
Marshawn Lynch is ready to go this weekend which is huge. Jonathan Stewart is the other running back for the Panthers and I'm taking Lynch all day. I believe that his return will spark the offense and the team because of his leadership and his play. Lynch will help Wilson with the play action plays and the running game will sustain drives. Baring injury, the offense will have a big boost and will help Russel Wilson passing game. Panthers have one of the best running games this year but that Seattle defense will make sure that their running game is not a factor for the Panthers.
3. Time Possession.
Cam Newton has played the best football of any QB this year in the league and will probably win MVP. So how do you stop him? Keep him off the field ! With the running game and Wilson short passing plays, Seattle will have majority possession of the ball which will be a huge factor against Cam. Cam Newton not being on the field will be an X factor for who wins the game.
Seattle was ranked second in the league this year in total defense and I believe will cause an turnover in the game. Seattle will shut down the running game of Jonathan Stewart causing Cam to throw the ball much more and run the ball more. In Cam Newton having to do too much, I believe there will be a turnover on their offense which Seattle will take full advantage of and give Seattle points. The Panthers defense is really good, being ranked 6th in the league for total defense but with Seattle offense being balanced, it’s less of an chance for Seattle to make more mistakes then Carolina.
5. Russel Wilson.
With the running back injury of Lynch this season, everything has been on Russel Wilson’s shoulders and he put them back in the playoffs. Yes the defense is still very good and did their job but you can see how much Wilson has improved. He had the hottest streak of any QB this year. He had a 5 game stretch in which he had 19 TDs, 0 Interceptions, completing 74.3 % of his passes, according to NFL.com/stats. Wilson had better numbers then the lead leading MVP Cam Newton. Playoff experience and with the next step Russel Wilson took as a QB will be key to a victory over the Carolina Panthers.