Falcons-Panthers outcome may determine the Seahawks postseason
The Seahawks postseason hopes depend on a win today against the Cardinals, but that’s just half the story. Will the Panthers win to give Seattle a hand?
The Seahawks postseason hopes are on the line today. A win against the Cardinals is just step one to reach the playoffs for the sixth straight year. For Seattle to accomplish that goal, the Carolina Panthers have to put their cleats on a recent Seattle nemesis, the Atlanta Falcons. I’ll take a quick look at the playoff scenario, then take a tour of the FanSided experts for both teams for their opinions on this critical game.
First, let’s understand what’s at stake for those two teams. Each team has much more riding on this game than whether the Seahawks postseason miracle happens or not. I kind of doubt they care about that aspect of it.
For the Carolina Panthers, they’re already in the playoffs at no worse than the number five seed. That number five seed means a road trip in the wild card round of the playoffs for Cam Newton and his crew. And that game would likely be in New Orleans. A win against the Falcons and a Saints loss to Tampa Bay give the Panthers the NFC South title and a bye week. So Carolina has a lot to play for. I mean, other than beating down a division rival. And simply the satisfaction of potentially knocking the defending conference champion Falcons out of the playoff hunt.
As for the Falcons, their picture is pretty simple. Win and you’re win. Even if Atlanta loses, a Seahawks loss allows the Falcons to back into the playoffs. As the games will be played at the same time, Atlanta doesn’t have the luxury of going into the game knowing they can coast. This is no typical “let’s rest the starters” week 17 tilt.
The FanSided experts have their say
First, let’s see what the crew for FanSided’s Bloggin Dirty have to say about their Falcons today. First up is Erik Sandelin. He calls out for ball security for Atlanta:
"The Falcons do need to clean up mistakes. They lead the league in dropped passes. Only four of Matt Ryan’s interceptions are his fault – the remainder are the result of tipped or dropped passes. The fumbles need to stop."
Site expert Randy Gurzi says,
"This weekend’s game will be tough. Carolina is playing great in recent weeks and quarterback Cam Newton is a nightmare to stop. He will test the defense at every step, but that’s not the biggest concern. The Falcons offense has been inconsistent and frustrating. The game will come down to whether or not they can play 60 minutes of clean football."
I’m not going to go through the rest of their staff predictions, because it’s all really good stuff. I’ll just say that not everyone on Blogging Dirty sees an Atlanta win. See what Randy and the rest of his staff predicts for the outcome here.
As for the Carolina Panthers chances, we turn to FanSided’s Cat Crave site expert, Brandon Scott.
"[Charles Johnson’s] addition back into the fold for defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is expected to refresh a defensive line that has continuously pressured opposing quarterbacks all season – with the exception of Matt Ryan. The Falcons signal caller was only sacked twice, on back-to-back plays, of a three-and-out series in the second half during the first meeting."
Related Story: The biggest threat to the Seahawks in today's game
Here’s more inside insight from Brandon on this critical game, along with his prediction. Obviously, every 12 is wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey somewhere in their psyche today. First job, Seattle must beat the Arizona. Second job, Carolina must beat Atlanta. Actually, as long the Falcons lose, a repeat of that miserable tie game from last year would still give us all a New Years present of a Seahawks postseason.