SEATTLE, Wash. (WTVD) -- It's amazing how much this city loves its Seahawks. Having been here for the 2006 NFC title game, I remember the passion, but seeing it again in person leaves me marveling once more. It's a novelty to see someone today who doesn't have some Seahawks clothing on and once we got to the stadium it was obviously universal.
I'd guess 50% or more of the jerseys I see here are Russell Wilson '3's. The impact all these '12th Men' will have will certainly factor into the game. There's simply no other atmosphere in pro football quite like Seattle. As Jordan Gross said on local radio yesterday -- the fans here view coming to the game and cheering as their actual job.
On that front - Carolina's recent O-line continuity is key. Primarily because Cam Newton needs time to make plays of course, but also because in the many situations where Newton makes checks at the line of scrimmage -- everyone needs to be on the same page with hand signals. Verbal communication will be largely moot.
An early TD would be immense for the Panthers to help silence the crowd. Cam's managed just one touchdown in his three games vs Seattle, they'll certainly need more today. I'm guessing 20 is a winning number. Getting there is the trick. Jonathan Stewart will be the focus of Seattle's defensive efforts, so if he's still effective early, that'll be a massive boost. Whether Cam and his WRs can make enough happen is a big question too. His most prolific effort vs Seattle - a paltry 171 yards passing.
I expect the Panthers defense to give them a chance. Carolina needs to force a mistake or two from the Seattle offense to give their offense a short field.
I don't see a win happening, but I do think it'll be competitive. Gimme Seattle 20-10.