In the Saturday nightcap, Carolina travels to Seattle in a battle of 2 of the hottest NFL teams this weekend. Check inside to find out what our NFL pick would be for this high-profile matchup.
Carolina vs. Seattle (-10-) 8:15 ET FOX TV
Selection here is on the defending champs, whose recent hot streak has been against a far more difficult schedule than that of the Panthers. These two met October 26th in Carolina with Seattle emerging with a 13-9 victory, covering the 3 ½ point impost. That was a hard fought game with each team committing 2 TOs and Seattle having a narrow 310-266 yardage advantage.
On the basis of a 5-game late season winning streak, Carolina emerged as a rare losing team to make the playoffs. While Carolina had a regular season mark of 7-8-1 SU, playing against the NFC South (no winning teams), Seattle went 12-4 SU against arguably the toughest division in the NFL. On the road, Carolina went 3-4-1 SU and 4-4 ATS. They were just 1-4 SU, 2-3 ATS against fellow playoff teams. They played their best down the stretch, as they enter on a 5-game winning streak. A closer look at the level of opposition finds those victories came against New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Atlanta (all losing teams), then against a battered and bruised Arizona offense to open the playoffs last week. Though the scoreboard read a competitive 27-16, the Panthers outrushed the Cards 188-27 and held them to an all-time playoff low of an embarrassing 78 yards. In the last 7 games, the Panthers strong defense helped them to outgain the opposition by 139 YPG. In the past 6 games, the Panthers outrushed their opponents by an average of 194-85 RYPG. Despite those outstanding numbers, Carolina will have trouble transferring that success when facing defending champion, Seattle, on their strong home field.
Seattle enters with a NFL betting odds home field record of 7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS. They were 5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS against playoff teams. They feature the best ground game in the NFL, running an average of 33 times per game for 173 RYPG on 5.3 YPR. They also have the best defense in the league, allowing foes just 16 PPG, 3.4 YPR, 5.8 YP pass for an NFL best 4.8 defensive YPP. That defensive unit has been at its best as the season progresses. Seattle has outgained the opposition in their last 11 games. In fact, in the previous 8 games, they have outgained their foes by an average of 175 YPG. In finishing the season on a 6-0 SU ATS run, they recorded every victory by 10 or more points, holding those final 6 opponents to a total of only 39 points or 6.5 PPG. In the regular season finale, they cruised by St. Louis 20-6 (trailed 6-0), outrushing the Rams 132-42. QB Wilson and RB Lynch get the offensive ink. But, it is the No. 1 defense and the strong home field of Seattle who's getting our NFL pick here with a comfortable double digit victory.
Free NFL Pick: Take Seattle