UPDATE: The Panthers will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, January 17 at 1:05 p.m. ET on FOX.
For the second year in a row, the Carolina Panthers will be playing the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
This time around, the circumstances are a bit different.
Last year, they scraped their way into the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record, beat an Arizona Cardinals team that was playing with Ryan Lindley at QB in the wild-card round, then were over-matched on the road against the eventual NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. This year, they transcended the league en route to a 15-1 record, got a bye in the wild-card round and will be at home in the divisional round playing against a team they’ve already beat this season.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about Carolina’s first playoff game in 2016, including opponent scenarios depending on the results of the NFC wild-card games:
Panthers Divisional Round Game
Date: Sunday, January 17
Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go
Panthers Divisional Round Opponent
Vikings Win, Redskins Win
The Panthers will play the lowest remaining seed in the divisional round, so in this scenario they would host the Washington Redskins. Jay Gruden’s squad is in similar position as last year’s Panthers, as they escaped a terrible division but have played terrific football down the stretch. If this scenario plays out, the Redskins will enter having won five straight games.
Carolina beat Washington, 44-16, in Week 11.
Vikings Win, Packers Win
This matches the Panthers up with the Green Bay Packers, who have been really shaky down the stretch, especially on offense, but they do have arguably the best QB in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers. As long as he’s under center, the Pack are dangerous.
Carolina beat Green Bay, 37-29, in Week 9.
If the Seahawks go into Minnesota and beat the Vikings on Sunday, the Panthers will host Seattle no matter what happens in the second wild-card game. The Panthers did beat the Seahawks in Seattle, 27-23, back in Week 6. However, the ‘Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning six of their last seven games and out-scoring opponents 224-98 during that time.
You can bet there will be a lot of Minnesota fans in Carolina this weekend.