CAROLINA (8-8-1) at SEATTLE (12-4)Saturday, 8:15 p.m. EST, FoxOPENING LINE — Seahawks by 10 1/2RECORD VS. SPREAD — Carolina 8-8-1, Seattle 9-6-1SERIES RECORD — Seattle leads 6-2LAST MEETING — Seahawks beat Panthers 13-9, Oct. 26, 2014LAST WEEK — Panthers beat Cardinals 27-16 in wild-card round; Seahawks had bye, beat Rams 20-6 on Dec. 28AP PRO32 RANKING — Panthers No. 13, Seahawks No. 1PANTHERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (7), PASS (19).PANTHERS Defence — OVERALL (10), RUSH (16), PASS (11).SEAHAWKS OFFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (1), PASS (27).SEAHAWKS Defence — OVERALL (1), RUSH (3), PASS (1).STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Seahawks looking to become first defending champion to win playoff game since New England in January 2006. ... Only second meeting in post-season between Seahawks and Panthers. Previous was 2005 NFC championship game in Seattle, won by Seahawks 34-14. ... Seahawks have beaten Panthers in regular season in each of past three seasons, all at Carolina. ... Since Dec. 1, Seahawks lead NFL in points allowed per game (8.3) and yards allowed (211.3). Panthers are second in both categories (11.8 points and 238.2 yards). ... Panthers trying to be first team in NFL history to reach conference championship game after having sub-.500 record in regular season. ... Including playoff victory, Panthers have won five straight. ... During five-game win streak, Panthers averaging 196.6 yards per game rushing. ... QB Cam Newton won playoff game last week vs. Cardinals for first time in career; Newton was 0-1 last season. ... Newton is only player to have 3,000 or more yards passing and at least 500 yards rushing in each of first four NFL seasons. ... RB Jonathan Stewart averaging 104.8 yards per game and scored two touchdowns during win streak. ... Panthers have started same offensive line for six straight games, including rookie guards Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell. ... TE Greg Olsen had career-best 84 receptions and 1,008 yards receiving in regular season, but was held to one catch for 16 yards by Seahawks in October. ... Panthers allowed NFL post-season-record 78 total yards last week to Cardinals. ... DT Star Lotulelei out with broken foot. ... All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly had 153 tackles in regular season. Kuechly also had 11 passes defenced, second among all linebackers in NFL. ... DE Charles Johnson had two sacks in wild-card win over Cardinals and had 8 1/2 sacks in final 12 games of regular season. ... S Roman Harper led team with four interceptions. ... Rookie S Tre Boston has interceptions in his last two games, including end-zone pick vs. Cardinals. ...Seahawks are No. 1 seed for third time in franchise history. ... Over past three seasons, playoffs included, Seahawks are 24-2 at home. ... Seahawks have won seven straight home playoff games. Last loss was 2004 wild-card game vs. Rams. ... Seahawks led NFL in yards rushing with 2,762, third-most yards rushing by any team in past 30 seasons. ... QB Russell Wilson is 3-0 vs. Panthers and 4-1 overall in playoffs with passer rating of 102. ... Seahawks were third in NFL with just 14 turnovers, fewest in franchise history. ... RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,306 yards and had career-best 17 total touchdowns in regular season. Lynch is only player to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in each of past four seasons. ... Seahawks led NFL in total defence and points allowed for second straight season; first team since 1985-86 Bears to lead league in those categories in consecutive seasons. ... Seahawks led NFL in scoring defence for third straight seasons, third team in league history to accomplish that feat. ... Seattle did not allow fourth-quarter points in last six games. ... Seahawks were only team in NFL to allow less than 300 total yards per game and Seahawks only team to allow less than 200 yards per game passing. ... LB Bobby Wagner, CB Richard Sherman and S Earl Thomas all first-team All-Pro selections. First time in franchise history with three defensive players honoured as first-team All-Pros in same season.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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. - Considering where Jeff Gordon was after Richmond, left out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in part due to some late-race shenanigans, he couldnt have been happier on Sunday.Its tough enough for the Blue Jays to be playing in the American League East to get even a sniff of the postseason. Then youve got to worry about the other up and coming teams in the two weaker divisions in the "Junior Circuit". If you had to peg one team whom the Blue Jays will have to reckon with in 2014, it would be Kansas City. The Royals finished with an 86-76 record a year ago and missed the playoffs. However that record was 12 games better than the Jays 74-88. One bad month really cost KC a spot in the playoffs a year ago. They went 8-20 in May. Every other month, they were over .500 including 17-10 in September. Kansas City scuffled a bit to score runs in 2013 averaging four per game, but the Blue Jays werent all that much better at 4.40 runs per game. The big difference was in runs allowed by the starting rotation and the bullpen. The Royals starters had an ERA of 3.87 to the Blue Jays 4.81 which was well above the American League average of 4.17. As highly touted as the Blue Jays bullpen was, its ERA of 3.37 was no match for the Royals 2.55. This is in part because of the Royals spacier ballpark, but KC only gave up 155 home runs over the course of the season to the Jays ugly total of 195. If you want to talk team speed, the Blue Jays stole 112 bases, which was better than the league average of 95, but the Royals were even better swiping 153. You could argue the Royals will be even better in 2014. Although they lost Ervin Santana as a free agent, they added durable lefty and former Angel Jason Vargas to plug into the rotation. They also have an elite closer in Greg Holland who saved 47 out of 50 a year ago and a workhorse starter to lead the rotation in James Shields, who through 228.2 innings last season. The Royals also upgraded at second base and right field. They filled a major hole at the keystone by signing former Tiger Omar Infante to a four-year deal worth $30.25 million and traded for speedy right fielder Norichika Aoki, who will take over as their leadoff hitter. KCs secret weapon might just be 22-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura. Though only 511", he throws consistantly in high 90s and has been known to hit between 100 and 102mph on occasion. Hes already earned a spot in skipper Ned Yosts rotation and is being touted as one of the top candidates for rookie of the year. Since Pittsburgh made the playoffs last season, Kansas City and the Blue Jays are the two teams that have gone the longest between post-season appearances. The Royaals havent made it since they won the World Series over St.dddddddddddd. Louis in 1985. The Blue Jays of course, havent made it since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. The Blue Jays play the Royals seven times this season, from April 29 through May 1 in Missouri and then back in Toronto from May 29 through June 1. Those are seven games of their first 58 that could well prove whether the Jays are good enough to contend for a Wild Card spot, or which team of these two will wind up with the longest postseason drought when the 2014 season is all said and done. Around Spring Training Injuries turned right-hander Josh Johnson into arguably the biggest disappointment of the Blue Jays season a year ago. Unfortunately his luck hasnt changed much in San Diego. The 30-year-old right-hander is going to be out 4-to-5 weeks with a strained right forearm. Tough blow for the Texas Rangers. Their young second baseman Jurickson Profar is out 10 to 12 weeks with a slight muscle tear in his right shoulder. Profar was expected to shoulder the load at second since Ian Kinsler was dealt to Detroit as part of the Prince Fielder deal. Profar hasnt proven himself as a big league hitter yet, but his glove and arm are world class. Yes, its only spring training, but the Yankees have got to be a bit concerned that Derek Jeter is only hitting .114 and Mark Teixiera only .120. Great to see David Ortiz is probably going to end his career in Boston. After all hes been pretty much the face of the franchise for the last 10 years. Ortiz agreed over the weekend to a one-year, $15 million extension for 2015. He also has a vesting option for 2016 and there is a club option for 2017 by which time Ortiz will be 42 years old. Erik Bedard is looking for new gig. The 35-year-old southpaw and native of Navan, Ontario opted out of his deal with Tampa Bay after the fifth starters job went to 24-year-old Jake Odorizzi. Bedard just didnt want to go back to Triple-A at this stage of his career. Experienced Help We mentioned a couple of articles ago that a former Blue Jays third baseman, Roy Howell, was managing in Triple-A this season at Tacoma. Now another Ex-Jay, Tom Lawless, has taken over as interim manager at Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League. Lawless will be filling in for Ton DeFrancesco who was diagnosed with cancer while working in the parent Astros camp this spring. DeFrancescos cancer was caught early enough that he is expected to make a full recovery. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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