Seattle Seahawks (11-6) at Carolina Panthers (15-1)
This is a matchup of two absolute powerhouses, as Carolina and Seattle rank 2nd and 3rd respectively in rate of moving the chains differential. Seattle gets running back Marshawn Lynch back from a 7 game absence, while Carolina gets running back Jonathan Stewart back from a 3 game absence, safety Kurt Coleman back from a 1 game absence, and wide receiver Ted Ginn back from a 1 game absence, though cornerback Charles Tillman is out for the season. I think Carolina is the better team, so I like being able to take them as mere 2.5 point favorites at home, given that about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal or less, but I’d need to be getting points to bet any money against Seattle, especially since home teams in the divisional round are just 8-16 ATS since 2001 against a team that is coming off of a road win in the wild card round.
Carolina Panthers 16 Seattle Seahawks 13
Pick against the spread: Carolina -2.5