ESPN ranks Panthers as number 2 playoff team

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) leaves the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. (David Goldman)

Despite the best record in the NFL at 15-1, ESPN senior writer Mike Sando doesn't think they're the best team going into the playoffs.

That honor goes to the Seahawks, despite the fact the Panthers beat Seattle in their stadium earlier this season.

Playoff pedigree is a factor in his rankings, and he says the Panthers just don't have a proven record of success yet. Their playoff win against a Ryan Lindley-quarterbacked team doesn't count for much, according to Sando. On the other hand, the Seahawks have been to the past two Super Bowls, winning one.

He says that track record of success, their current performance level, and expected return of running back Marshawn Lynch puts them on top of the list.

Check out the full rankings.

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