Divisional Round NFL Picks: Look For A Dallas Upset At Lambeau

Tony Romo

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-11)

What appeared, at first, to be the biggest mismatch on paper — a 12-4 team with an undeniable home field advantage hosting a division winner with a losing record — quickly received the same treatment as the game between Baltimore and New England. Although the home team is the clear favorite — both the Patriots and Seahawks are giving at least one touchdown worth of points — the underdog is receiving support thanks to the recent memories of tightly contested games. In the case of the Seahawks and Panthers, this is to the tune of a 3-0 record for Seattle, but by an average margin of victory of less than five points, including a four point win this season.

What’s lost in these commonly-cited numbers is the fact that all three games were in Carolina. Saturday’s night playoff game will be in front of a national audience and one of the league’s biggest and most influential crowds.

The Panthers are walking into a potential massacre.

Carolina has found success in these matchups by keeping the Seahawks out of the endzone — despite ten scoring drives, Seattle has mustered only three touchdowns — but lost each one using the same recipe — the Panthers reached the endzone only twice in twelve quarters of play. Seattle’s offense may be slow to develop at times — the Seahawks still finished the season with a top-ten offense in both yards and scoring — but Carolina’s is downright anemic, failing to break the 20-point barrier nine times this year. Couple that with Seattle’s top-rated defense, and the Panthers may not even face a goal-to-go situation all night.

The Seahawks, one of the most complete teams looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions in recent memory, host the weakest playoff team in a stadium built to devour flawed offenses. If the Panthers believe they could survive a second consecutive game with as many missed opportunities as they had against Arizona, they will be sadly mistaken.

Seattle wins by three touchdowns and covers.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola

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