Seattle travels to North Carolina to take on the Panthers in a battle of teams with wildcard aspirations. Playing behind the 10-1 Rams and the 9-1 Saints does not bode well for a division title.
Russell Wilson and his Seahawks come in off a little extra rest after they added to the misery of the Green Bay season with a 27-24 victory.
Seattle’s running game is the story of their season, with Chris Carson providing a Marshawn Lynch-type of a workhorse, with Mike Davis and others filling in admirably when needed.
Wilson always plays better in the second half of the season. With a gelling offensive line and a healthier Doug Baldwin taking the field, the Seahawks have as good a shot as any team to make a playoff run from here on out.
Carolina had a chance to put themselves in better control of the first wild-card spot with a victory over the Lions in Detroit. However, when they scored a late touchdown to pull within a point of the home team, Coach Ron Rivera opted to go for the win instead of playing for overtime.
Quarterback Cam Newton had time, but no receivers, ultimately lofting an incomplete pass that no one had a chance of catching. Will that loss factor into playoff positioning?
Injuries and notes:
Wide receiver Torrey Smith is listed as questionable for the Panthers with an ongoing knee issue.
Seattle is also relatively healthy, with only rookie rusher Rashaad Penny (ankle) and linebacker KJ Wright (knee) listed as questionable.
Pete Carroll’s early season concession that his team wasn’t running the ball enough proved prophetic. Seattle adapted its game plan to take advantage of what is now its strength. The defense is not spectacular, but they can make a stop when needed, which is more than many expected.
Ron Rivera didn’t win the hearts of many fans with his extra point call last week. Of course, if he made it, they would be buying him drinks. More importantly, his players seemed to love the decision.
Rivera knows he is still in control of his playoff destiny. When you go out on a limb and declare nothing less than a Super Bowl berth is acceptable, that is pretty important.
How to watch the Panthers-Seahawks game
Fox Sports will produce and broadcast this game across much of the United States. That means Fubo-TV subscribers can watch the live stream action from their internet-connected TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.
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Read More: NFL Week 15 Game Preview: Saints at Panthers
Who will win the Panthers-Seahawks game?
There are people who worry Rivera’s lost gamble could take the life out of his Panthers team. But to a man, the players say they supported the coach’s decision and blame themselves for not executing better. The failure could actually inspire a team to play better.
Seattle is playing well and Russell Wilson might take advantage of the Panthers’ pass defense, but there is a reason the Panthers are 5-0 at home.