On Saturday the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the NFC South champion Carolina Panthers for a spot in the NFC Championship game.
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Recent clashes between the two teams have been classics as each of their last three meetings have been decided by one possession.
The teams already met each other once this season, a 13-9 victory for the Seahawks back in Week 8. That game was decided by a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson with only 0:47 left in regulation.
Football fans should rejoice — Saturday’s matchup will be another good one.
Here are some predictions on the outcome of the game:
1. Marshawn Lynch picks up 80 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Beast Mode has a number of different reasons to have a stellar performance on Saturday, and the Seahawks are going to need him to play well if they want to win this game.
It’s the perfect mix of a bunch of different things that just happened to happen this week.
The last time these teams met, Lynch was only able to rush for 62 yards, but he should have a better game this weekend.
2. Cam Newton throws at least one interception.
Ball security has always been a question mark when it comes to Newton. Sometimes his decision-making has been questionable as well, but he matured past that pretty well this season.
Regardless, Seattle’s defense is playing too well to not force a turnover on Saturday.
Newton threw 12 interceptions and fumbled the ball nine times this season. Last week against the Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card game, he threw an interception and lost a fumble.
I expect the pattern to continue against the best defense in the NFL.
There aren’t very many spots for Newton to throw the ball so Carolina may try relying on their resurrected running game, but I don’t know that Seattle will let them because…
3. Seahawks defense limits Jonathan Stewart to fewer than 60 rushing yards.
Seattle hasn’t allowed a running back more than 60 rushing yards since Jamaal Charles posted 159 rushing yards in the Seahawks Week 11 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
That was the last time Seattle lost this year.
When the Seahawks visited the Panthers, they held Stewart to 79 rushing yards, but I expect him to get fewer on Saturday, even with the absence of Jordan Hill.
Stewart had a big 24 carry, 123-rushing yard performance last week, but he won’t get half that on Saturday.
4. Seahawks win, 20-13.
In a defensive battle on both sides of the ball, the Seahawks should be able to pull away with another one possession victory.
Seattle’s defense has been playing better, is better and is better rested. The fact that the game is in Seattle helps the Seahawks as well.
It will be a good game, certainly, but the Seahawks should be the ones advancing to the NFC title game if they keep playing the way they have been lately.