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Interesting NFC battle here as the Carolina Panthers host the Seattle Seahawks. Both of these teams are coming off rough games, as the Seahawks got trounced by the Rams while the Panthers got demolished by the Falcons. Oddsmakers have the Seahawks as a sizable road favorite for this one, which has massive playoff implications for Seattle.
Seahawks 10-3The Seahawks have been having a pretty great season just about any way you look at it. They enter this one with a 10-3 record, and are extremely likely to make the playoffs. But while the record is good and everything looks great on the surface, I've remained somewhat skeptical. Dating back to the beginning of the season, the Seahawks have had a bunch of bounces go their way.
In their first game of the year, they beat the lowly Bengals by only one point, and they only managed to escape with a victory because of four Cincinnati fumbles. On top of that they've won two other games by two points or less, and an additional two in overtime. Overall only one of their ten wins has been by more than one score, and that was against the Cardinals. It's extremely unusual for a 10-win team to have nine wins come by one possession, and it could indicate they've been getting pretty lucky and are due for some regression. When the Seahawks finally had to play a really tough game this past week, they got exposed by the Rams. They trailed virtually the entire way and ended up losing by 16 points, while Russell Wilson had one of his worst games of the season.
Now they're going on the road again against an underrated Carolina defense, so this one isn't as clear-cut as it seems. I'm not a big fan of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and he can get overly conservative at times. The Seahawks are also a bit banged up on defense, as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and cornerback Shaquill Griffin all didn't practice on Thursday. All three are key players, and you're going to need to monitor their statuses. Even if Clowney plays through his core muscle injury as he has been he won't be 100%, and Seattle's pass rush has been lacking as a result.
Panthers Falling ApartWhat a weird season it has been for the Carolina Panthers. Carolina started the year off with two straight losses, and when Cam Newton re-aggravated his foot injury it appeared like the year was lost. Just when everybody was getting ready to throw in the towel, Kyle Allen took over under center and ripped off a magical run. The Panthers won each of his first four starts and were looking like a potential playoff team. Then everything fell apart again, and they are now just 1-6 in their last seven games. Allen regressed significantly, and the defense fell apart not too long after. Even with this losing stretch, I'm not quite ready to give up on them, as they've had some really tough luck in recent weeks. That includes a missed 28-yard field goal in the final couple of minutes costing them a chance to upset the Saints on the road. The Panthers recently fired Ron Rivera, and it'll be interesting to see how they look down the stretch.
Christian McCaffrey said that he’s very fortunate to have played for Rivera for three seasons. *not in video- CMC said that coach asked about his family all of the time. That’s the running theme here. Rivera cared about who the players are off the field. pic.twitter.com/WwAbrFm2yw— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) December 4, 2019
Christian McCaffrey is still one of the league's best offensive players, and I think he could have a lot of success here against a lackluster Seattle defense that just made Todd Gurley look rejuvenated. Allen has struggled when he's been under pressure, and the team's offensive line has been their biggest issue. Seattle has one of the worst pass-rushes in the league though and they have the third-fewest sacks in the NFL, so the pass protection should be better here. Carolina on the other hand still has a lot of talent in their secondary, as they have the third-most interceptions in the league. They can also really get after the quarterback, as they have the second-most sacks. Wilson often struggle is when there's pressure, and if Carolina can get some here they'll be in good shape.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Panthers are:
- 7-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games in Week 15
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I think there's some serious value with the home underdog here. Carolina has been taking a beating in the media, which has greatly inflated this number. The Seahawks have only won one game the entire season by more than one possession, so I really don't see them doing so on the road against an underrated defense here. Seattle just got exposed in their most recent game by getting crushed in their loss to the Rams, and I think we could see them start to spiral as the regression finally hits. The Seahawks don't have much of a pass-rush which has been what's killing Kyle Allen, so he should have a bounce-back game here.
Prediction: Panthers +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also think the under makes a lot of sense here. This Carolina defense is quietly very talented, but they aren't getting the respect that they deserve. They have the second-most sacks in the league and the third most interceptions, and the Seahawks offense just got exposed for what it really is this past week. On the flip side, Allen has completely fallen apart in recent weeks, so I don't think the Panthers are going to light up the scoreboard either. Both teams want to run the ball primarily, which will ensure that the clock is moving all game long.