A preseason favorite in the NFC, the Panthers stumbled out of the gate before winning 12 of their final 15 games, including postseason wins against the Giants and Bears on the road. Along the way, the Panthers overcame injuries to stars like Kris Jenkins and Stephen Davis by mixing a stingy defense with flashes of offensive brilliance from the likes of Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster.
The Seahawks took a little longer to live up to expectations, racing through a 13-3 regular season after disappointing many last season. Riding the legs of NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, the Seahawks played perfect football at home, beating the Redskins in the divisional round for their ninth win in nine games alongside Puget Sound.
So what will happen when the Panthers take to the road for a third consecutive week? Is losing Foster, who coach John Fox says has a broken ankle, more harmful to Carolina than losing Shaun Alexander would be to Seattle? Vote on all the key questions!