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Newton will look to take the initiative

Win or bust for the Panthers

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton
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NFL week 13
Sky Sports 2, 1am Sunday

Carolina's hopes of reaching the playoffs suffered what could prove a fatal blow when the Panthers lost at AFC West leaders Oakland last week.

It doesn’t get much easier for Ron Rivera’s side as they have to travel to Seattle knowing that anything other than a victory will virtually end the season for the team who lost in February’s Super Bowl.

The Seahawks have stuttered for much of the campaign but have still collected seven victories.

With the rest of the NFC West in a dismal state, it would take a huge slip-up for them not to win the division and they could become stronger as the new year beckons.

The absence of linebacker Luke Kuechly is a big blow for Carolina and that guards against backing them on the handicap, even in receipt of more than a touchdown.

Seattle are likely to pick themselves up from a poor defeat to Tampa Bay which should act as a jolt and it would be no surprise if they made a dramatic improvement on last week’s effort.

Going over on the Carolina points line of 18.5 is of interest, but the better bet could be to back Carolina’s charismatic quarterback Cam Newton to score a touchdown.

He has gone over five times this season, including in last week’s defeat to the Raiders and with an average of 6.5, rushing attempts per game this season, he is likely to take matters into his own hands should the Panthers get within close range of the Seahawks’ line.

C Newton to score a touchdown
1pt 2-1 Hills

The lowdown

TV Sky Sports 2 Starts 1.30am
Venue CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
Surface Artificial
Weather Clear, 3C
Best handicaps Carolina +7.5;
Seattle -6.5
Points line 43.5-44.5 points

Team news
Carolina The Panthers will be without linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Kurt Coleman (both concussion), defensive end Mario Addison (foot) and offensive tackle Daryl Williams (ankle).

Seattle Defensive end Michael Bennett is questionable with a knee injury, but safety Earl Thomas is available after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Key stat
Carolina have covered the handicap in just one of their last nine away matches

The Seahawks have stuttered for much of the campaign but have still collected seven victories
E.W. Terms
Sky bet