Carolina (4-7) at Seattle (7-3-1)
When: Sunday, December 4th 2016
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: NBC
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The last two losers in the Super Bowl will meet in a Week 13 matchup as the Seattle Seahawks host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football. These two teams are no strangers to each other either, having met six times since 2012 including last year’s 31-24 Carolina victory in the playoffs. Carolina might be the most disappointing team in the league this season with a 4-7 record and almost no chance to make the postseason. Carolina, which finished 15-1 last season, is coming off a 35-32 loss at Oakland last week to drop into last place in the NFC South. The Panthers’ last four games, and six of the past seven, have been decided by three points and they are 2-4 in those games, along with a one-point defeat at Denver in the season opener. Quarterback Cam Newton had a passer rating above 100 in half of his 16 games last season, but he has reached that mark just once this year and has completed less than 60% of his passes in six of 10 games. Running back Jonathan Stewart finally broke out with 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns in last week’s loss after averaging 2.7 yards per carry in his previous three games. Carolina’s defense is still stout against the run (79.5 yards), but are 29th against the pass (275.2).
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The Seahawks were rolling with a three-game winning streak, but that momentum hit a wall last week in Tampa Bay – a 14-5 loss to the Buccaneers. Russell Wilson threw for a season-low 151 yards and was intercepted twice – matching his season total from the first 10 games. Running back Thomas Rawls was held to 38 yards on 12 carries in his second game back from a broken leg, although Wilson rushed for a season-high 80 yards. Star safety Earl Thomas was a full participant in practice Thursday after missing the first game of his career last week while defensive end Michael Bennett could return to the lineup for the first time since Week 7. Defensive end Cliff Avril leads the NFC with 10 sacks. The Seahawks are allowing a league-low 17 points per game. Seattle still owns a comfortable three-game lead in the NFC West and will be in Green Bay next week. Seattle is a perfect 5-0 at CenturyLink Field and 3-2 against the spread. The Seahawks have covered four of their last six contests.
Carolina has played some close games this season, but I think Seattle rolls tonight. They’re getting healthy on defense and Wilson is starting to play better (aside from last week), and they now have a running game with Rawls. Newton will throw at least two interceptions in this game which will lead to easy points for Seattle.
Pick: Seahawks -7.5