Carolina Panthers (4-7 SU, 3-7-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1 SU, 6-5 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, December 4, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: CAR +6.5/SEA -6.5
Over/Under Total: 45
The Carolina Panthers come into CenturyLink on Sunday Night Football to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams lost on Sunday. The Panthers fell to 4-7 on the season with a tough 35-32 loss road loss to the Oakland Raiders. They led in the 4th quarter by 8 after staging a big comeback, only to fall short again. They are now looking at a tough situation and it might be curtains for the defending conference champion. Seattle lost for only the second time in 9 games on Sunday in an ugly 14-5 road loss to the surging Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who can right the ship this week?
While the Panthers are in the NFC South, a division that has struggled, other NFC South teams have started winning and despite winning three of four heading into Oakland, the loss was costly. It's been a rough season for the Panthers, with a lot of things just not really clicking, following a season in which they were pretty dominant. On Sunday, they showed some moxie in overcoming 24-7 halftime deficit to take a 32-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Raiders, however, have been adept at rallying this season and did so again on Sunday, much to the detriment of the Panthers. Even on Sunday, they were able to show some of their class, as they held an Oakland offense dormant to begin the second half, while the offense took over the game. But the lack of follow-through was again the sticking point.
Cam Newton wasn't all that bad on Sunday, especially to begin the second half. But on the season, he has 13 TDs and 8 picks with his 274 rushing yards very uncharacteristic of his MVP form of last season. RB Jonathan Stewart was big on Sunday with two touchdowns and 96 yards. Newton connected big with Ted Ginn on an 88 yard score and Kelvin Benjamin on a 44-yard touchdown score. Greg Olsen, normally a team asset, was not on-point on Sunday, dropping a key pass late that would have put the Panthers in FG position. And the protection in key late spots was not there from the line.
The Carolina defense was not on-point Sunday and it's probably not all due to Luke Kuechly being out, though it really doesn't help at this point. A defense that was both stout and intimidating last season has been anything but this season—or at least not on a consistent basis. They were stout against the Oakland run on Sunday, but that's not really the key against the Raiders. At the end of the day, they are 24th in points allowed this season and are a heavily-depreciated unit—a big part of the reason a 15-1 team from last season can be 4-7.
Carolina faces a tough challenge this week on the road against the Seahawks. After being on a nice run, the team was flummoxed in a 14-5 loss to the Bucs. While Tampa is unquestionably a rising commodity, one would have liked to see more from the Seattle offense. Tampa's defense has certainly upped their game in recent weeks, but Seattle was starting to click nicely on offense. The line was stepping up with some better play. The passing game was cooking nicely with Russell Wilson working well with Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, and others. Thomas Rawls had a game under his belt after returning from a long absence. And then they come up on the wrong end of a baseball score in Tampa. Bizarre.
Wilson, who had two picks entering Sunday, threw a pair of them on Sunday. One of the picks killed a late drive. And he was sacked six times. He was 17-for-33 with 151 yards in his worst game in a while. Wilson did have some nice runs, with 80 yards on the ground, though Rawls didn't'really follow up well on his first game back with 38 yards on 12 carries. Jimmy Graham, whose rebirth has been a big part of getting its offense off its back, had a good game on Sunday, but it was a cumulative failure on the part of the offense. And that's typical that just when Seattle looks to have found answers offensively, they deliver a clunker.
QUIT THROWING AWAY YOUR HARD EARNED LOOT! BET ON THE PANTHERS VS. SEAHAWKS GAME AT DISCOUNTED ODDS -105 TODAY AT 5DIMES
The Seattle defense was without Earl Thomas and corner DeShawn Snead and their secondary was a little vulnerable, with all of Tampa's points on passing plays. Still, giving up 14 to a home Tampa bunch doesn't qualify as an unmitigated disaster at all, with the blame falling squarely on the offense for their lack of production. Doug Martin had a decent game for the Bucs, but it was still a solid performance for a defense that has missed a lot of pieces at different times this season, hurting their continuity at times.
Seattle is likely to be eager to get back on the right track this week at home against a Carolina team that just hasn't seen things go their way this season. But a version of the Seattle team we saw on Sunday could be in trouble against a Panthers team that hasn't given up yet. At 7 losses, a team is basically at its bottom-point before the postseason can all but be ruled out. I see the Panthers still looking to get it done and covering against the Seahawks.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Carolina Panthers plus 6.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Panthers vs. Seahawks game from the comfort of your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!