Seattle at Carolina
When: 1:05 PM ET, Sunday, January 17
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX29
LINE: Panthers -2.5. O/U: 44

By Jack Ryan

The Seattle Seahawks escaped a near-certain defeat in the opening round of the playoffs and continue their bid for a third straight trip to the Super Bowl when they visit the top-seeded Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

Seattle squeezed out a 10-9 victory at Minnesota last weekend when Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field-goal attempt in the final minute.

The sixth-seeded Seahawks now get a chance to avenge a regular-season home loss to the Panthers, who erased a 13-point, second-half deficit in a 27-23 victory at Seattle in Week 6.

The Seahawks have reeled off six consecutive road wins, surrendering a scant total of 43 points in that stretch. Carolina, which won its first 14 games and pounded Tampa Bay 38-10 in the season finale, was expecting a rematch against Seattle. “After we played them, we said, ‘We’ll see you again in the playoffs,'” Panthers star cornerback Josh Norman said. “It’s cool. Fate gives you these chances to prove yourself worthy.”

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (11-6): After surviving ice-box conditions in Minnesota, Seattle is hoping for the return of running back Marshawn Lynch, who practiced fully last week for the first time since undergoing abdominal surgery on Nov. 25 but said he wasn’t ready to go against the Vikings.

Russell Wilson, who threw for 241 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting, had 24 TD passes and one interception in a seven-game span before being limited to 142 yards against Minnesota. As good as Seattle’s defense has been on the road, it allowed four 80-yard TD drives to the Panthers in Week 6.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (15-1): Cam Newton was picked off twice in the first matchup, but he has thrown for 21 touchdowns and only one interception over his last eight games. Greg Olsen continued a trend of tight ends burning Seattle’s defense by hauling in seven passes for 131 yards, including the go-ahead 26-yard TD with under a minute to play. Jonathan Stewart, who ran for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the earlier meeting, will return to the lineup after missing three games due to a foot injury. Carolina’s defense sacked Wilson four times and is third in the league with 40.

No. 1 seeds are 21-4 in the NFC Divisional Round since 1990.

The Seahawks had won five in a row against Carolina, including a 31-17 victory in last season’s playoffs, prior to the loss in Week 6.

The Panthers have won 11 consecutive games at home.

PREDICTION: Seahawks 23, Panthers 20

Team Comparison
W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Seattle 11-6 W2 25.5 16.8 5-3 6-3 2-1 0-1 8-5
Carolina 15-1 W1 31.2 19.2 8-0 7-1 11-0 0-0 11-1
Last Meeting
Seattle Carolina
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/18/15 CAR 27 SEA 23 334 115 219 383 135 248
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Seattle R. Wilson 60.0 241 1 0
Carolina C. Newton 55.6 269 1 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Seattle M. Lynch 17 54 3.2 1
Carolina J. Stewart 20 78 3.9 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Seattle J. Graham 8 140 17.5 0
Carolina G. Olsen 7 131 18.7 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Seattle R. Lockette 1
Carolina J. Stewart 2
Season (Regular Season and Playoffs)
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Seattle R. Wilson 67.2 4166 35 9
Carolina C. Newton 59.7 3837 35 10
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Seattle T. Rawls 147 830 5.6 4
Carolina J. Stewart 242 989 4.1 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Seattle D. Baldwin 83 1111 13.4 15
Carolina G. Olsen 77 1104 14.3 7
Touchdowns Player TD
Seattle D. Baldwin 15
Carolina T. Ginn 10

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