Carolina Panthers (4-7 SU, 3-7-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 8:30 PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:CAR +6.5/ SEA -6.5
This is a matchup that features the past two Super Bowl losers when the Carolina Panthers take on the Seattle Seahakws on Sunday Night Football. Speaking of losing, the Seahawks looked listless on offense in their 14-5 setback as 6-point road favorites at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Seattle was outgained 338-245, while committing three turnovers and allowing a season-high 6 sacks. Russell Wilson had one of his worst games of his carer, throwing for just 151 yards with 2 interceptions. The Panthers played a wild game against the Raiders in losing 35-32 as 3.5-point road underdogs. Carolina fell behind 24-7 at halftime, before taking a 32-24 lead only to lose on a Sebastian Janikowski 23-yard FG with 1:45 remaining. Both teams enter this contest a pedestrian 5-5 in the stats over the past 10 games.
The Panthers are staying on the West Coast to avoid further jet lag from taking a cross county flight four times in the span of a week. You think that would help the Panthers, but teams that don't return home after a cross-country flight are cashing just under 40% over the past five seasons. Carolina enters this game ranked 10th in points per game and 14th in yards per game, while the Seahawks are ranked 23rd in points and 17th in yards per game. The biggest difference between these two teams is on the stop side. Seattle is ranked 1st in points against, while the Panthers are ranked 23rd, which explains why last year's Super Bowl runner-up has struggled this season. The loss of CB Josh Norman has made a huge difference as you can see how well he's playing with the Redskins.
Carolina could easily have a better record as they have played seven games decided by 3 points or fewer. That's the most of any team in the NFL this year. Carolina has allowed 35+ points three times which is the second most in the league this season. This team doesn't have the offensive line to outscore most teams. The Panthers' offensive line is ranked No. 22 by Football Outsiders. That's a bad matchup considering the Seahawks' defense is ranked No. 8 in sacks (31) this season. Seattle has struggled on their offensive line as well allowing 26 sacks through Week 12. The unit has played much better up until last week's loss against the Buccaneers. I am expecting the entire Seahawks team to bounce back at home where they almost never lose. Seattle is 19-4 SU at home over the past three seasons.
This is a big revenge game for the host. Carolina defeated the Seahawks 31-24 as 2.5-point home chalk in last year's playoffs. The Panthers got the victory despite getting outgained 403-295. Wow. Including the playoffs, Seattle is 4-1 SU vs. Carolina at home and should be extra motivated knowing the Panthers ousted them from the playoffs this past January. Pete Carroll is a great coach and will surely use that result as extra motivation. Also, the Seahawks had season-lows in both passing yards (118) and total yards (245) in Tampa. On the bright side, Seattle had 127 yards on the ground and are averaging 139.5 rushing yards per game in their last two contests. Seattle had a season-high three giveaways after turning the ball over just six times in the previous 10 games. Seattle's nine turnovers are tied for the sixth fewest in the league this season, while Carolina's 21 giveaways are the fourth most of any NFL team in 2016.
Russell Wilson is 14-1 SU and 13-1-1 ATS at home in his career when not laying more than 7 points. Seattle is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points of late. Carolina is 4-1 ATS as road dogs of 3.5 to 7 points over the past three seasons. In my opinion, this is not the same Panthers team that we have been accustomed to seeing in the past. Check this out. Since Week six, NFL teams are 0-5 ATS after playing the Oakland Raiders.
Jeff's Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Seattle Seahawks -6.5
I love playing on winning NFL teams returning home off an embarrassing effort and/or blowout loss. Seattle is ranked 4th in overall team efficiency, while the Panthers are ranked 22nd. The Seahawks are getting some key players back on defense. Carolina played a physical game last week against Oakland and now must face a team that will be playing with playoff revenge. Carolina has one of the worst special teams (29th) which could be a major factor in this contest. I will swallow the 6.5 points and side with host.
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