NFC predictions: Seahawks and Panthers will advance

NFC predictions: Seahawks and Panthers will advance
January 10, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Ravens front office reacts to missing the playoffs

NFC Playoff Predictions

SATURDAY

What: Saints at Seahawks

When: Saturday, 4:35 p.m.

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle

TV: FOX

Three reasons I like the Seahawks:

1. I can’t get that 34-7 whipping Seattle gave the Saints in Week 13 out of my head.

This game should be much different. But have the Saints really improved enough to turn the tables? I don’t think so. I also don’t believe Drew Brees will be able to throw for chunk plays against the Seahawks’ secondary.

2. Russell Wilson protects the football.

No, Wilson did not play as well in December as he did earlier. But Wilson only threw nine picks all season. Turnovers kill you in the playoffs. Ask Andy Dalton. Wilson may not be spectacular against the Saints, but he won’t make momentum-breaking mistakes.

3. Wide receiver Percy Harvin could be an X-factor for the Seahawks.

He has only played 19 snaps this season, but he expects to play Saturday. A healthy Harvin is a threat, both as a receiver and on special teams.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Saints 14.

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SUNDAY

What: 49ers at Panthers

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

TV: FOX

Three reasons I like the Panthers:

1. Nobody is hotter.

Since their 1-3 start, the Panthers have gone 11-1. That is three months of quality football. They may be the most underrated team left in the postseason.

2. Cam Newton is clutch.

He has been a winner at every level, and has led four fourth-quarter comebacks this season. Newton has taken plenty of heat during his career. But I think the Panthers’ star quarterback is ready for this prime-time moment.

3. Carolina’s defensive front is dominant.

The Panthers sacked Colin Kaepernick six times when they beat the 49ers, 10-9, in Week 10. Kaepernick kills the Packers with his mobility. Against the Panthers, his pocket will collapse, with no room to escape. This should be a close, physical game, but I think having a bye week and playing at home gives the Panthers the edge.

Prediction: Panthers 29, 49ers 21

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