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Official Panthers at Seahawks divisional playoff GameDay Thread...


Jeremy Igo

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Seahawk blog Field Gulls:

"This weekend two teams that run the ball exceptionally well, the Seahawks and the Panthers, will square off... The Panthers and Seahawks have a lot in common. Both teams espouse the same ideals of playing tough, physical defense and both favor a ball-control, option-based and run-heavy offensive game plan. Over the final six weeks of the season, the Seahawks and Panthers outpaced all other teams in rushing yards while their defenses surrendered the fewest points league-wide... both will be on display on Saturday night. Carolina will look to give Seattle a piece of their own medicine"

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ESPN:

Panthers vs. Seahawks: top defenses clash ... the Legion of Boom welcomes Superman.

...

DEFENSE

The reigning Super Bowl champions welcome the Carolina Panthers to Seattle on Saturday night in what figures to be a low-scoring affair. Although Russell Wilson and Cam Newton steal plenty of headlines,vthe defenses of the Seahawks and Panthers will make the QBs earn every inch.... From Week 14 to Week 17, the Seahawks and Panthers rank first and second in the NFC, respectively, in total defense and defensive befficiency.

...

ZONE READ OFFENSE

In the three seasons since 2012, Newton leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards on zone-read plays (640), and Wilson leads with eight rushing touchdowns on zone-reads during that span.... Only the Eagles and Dolphins featured more zone-read rushes than the Seahawks (177) and the Panthers (104) this season.... The Seahawks have been susceptible to the zone-read this season. Seattle has allowed 3.3 yards per rush on plays without zone-read action compared to 4.8 yards per rush on zone-read carries this season.

...

LUKE KUECHLY

Kuechly dominated the Panthers’ wild-card playoff victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week...Kuechly led all middle or inside linebackers this season in tackles, tackles for no gain or loss, pass breakups and disrupted dropbacks.

...

How the Panthers win

The Panthers have played the Seahawks three times in the last three seasons (all in Carolina) and have come up just short each time. Carolina led in the second half of all those games, but late turnovers have been costly. The Panthers have committed two turnovers in each game, and five of the six came after halftime. The Panthers haven’t lost a game this season in which they won the turnover battle (6-0-1).

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Carolina is the NFL’s only double-digit underdog this weekend. Yet the people who set odds are not instruments of evil. They simply want to entice bettors to put as much money on Carolina as they do Seattle. To accomplish this, they had to take a high line.

So who would pick a double-digit underdog to win outright? I won’t make the pick with my heart. Las Vegas has a word for people that bet with their hearts. The word is thanks.

I last picked the Panthers to win a playoff game in which they were extreme underdogs in 2004. They went to St. Louis to play the Rams, still boasting plenty of key cogs from the offensively dynamic teams known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The longer the game went, the tighter the Rams became, and the Panthers won in double overtime.

I didn’t make the pick so Panthers fans would like me. Hello, friends, already has been claimed.

That Carolina team had a quality both special and cool that metrics can’t define. So does this one.

The Panthers have lost three straight games to Seattle. Each was close, and each was in Charlotte. The Seahawks won because, when a game-winning play had to be made, they made it.

On Saturday, I think the Panthers do.

 

 

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