The Seahawks are back in Charlotte for the fifth time, playoffs included, in the past eight seasons, and are looking for a win that would give them a 7-1 road record, which would be the best in franchise history.
To learn more about the Seahawks' Week 15 opponent, we reached to Panthers.com senior writer Max Henson, who answered five questions about the Panthers:
Q: It's been a tough stretch for the Panthers, what have been the biggest factors in going from a four-game winning streak early in the season to losing five straight heading into this weekend's game?
Henson: The defense's inability to stop the run and stemming from that, their inability to create takeaways. And the offense continuously turning the ball over and struggling in pass protection. It's pretty simple, and try as the might, the Panthers just haven't been able to fix those big issues. When you struggle in those key areas, it's hard to win games, and that's what we've seen.
Q: This is probably related to the last question, but how big of a factor have turnovers been of late with the Panthers at minus-12 in turnover differential during that losing streak?
Henson: Yeah, it's been huge. They say turnovers come in bunches and they've clearly been in a drought. But the offense has more control over the giveaways, and quarterback Kyle Allen has had a tough time avoiding picks and fumbles. Some of it stems from the fact that they've fallen behind and need to take some chances, but the ball security needs to be much better for this team to get back in the win column.
Q: With nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards, maybe the answer is obvious, but just how much has Christian McCaffrey meant to Carolina's offense this season/how important is it to get him going if the Panthers are going to have success on offense this week?
Henson: He's been such a dependable workhorse for this team. He's production has been astounding and he certainly needs to have a big day if the Panthers are going to pull off the upset. Obviously, opponents are doing all they can to prevent McCaffrey from making those game-breaking, explosive plays, so the other weapons like DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel have to be able to attract attention and stretch the defense.
Q: How has the coaching change affected the team, particularly veterans who had played under Ron Rivera for so long?
Henson: Last week was a tough week. It was emotional. It was hard on the guys, especially the veterans who had such a strong connection to Ron. Interim head coach Perry Fewell acknowledged how emotional it was for the coaching staff as well. Everyone understands this is the nature of this business and nine years is a really great run, but that didn't necessarily make Rivera's exit any easier.
Q: Beyond the obvious big names like McCaffrey, Luke Kuechly, etc., who are a couple of players who you could see being X-factors for the Panthers in this game?
Henson: Tight end Ian Thomas is a second-year player who is getting more opportunities. He had five catches and a touchdown last week. He's still pretty raw, but he's a really good athlete who can create some matchup problems. Defensively, veteran edge rusher Mario Addison is quietly sitting on 9.5 sacks. The rush has to be disciplined against a dangerous guy like Russell Wilson, but it also has to be impactful. We'll see if Addison can create some disruption.
The Seahawks and the Panthers will meet this Sunday at the Bank of America Stadium for Week 15 of the 2019 season. Take a look back at photos from past games between the two teams.