The Seahawks are one step away from a first-ever Super Bowl appearance, and will be playing at home, where they are 9-0 this season. With RB Shaun Alexander expected to play despite suffering a concussion against the Redskins, Seattle is also extremely healthy.
Meanwhile, the strain of back-to-back playoff games has begun to take its toll on Carolina's roster. Several key starters are battling injuries, and starting RB DeShaun Foster will not play because of a broken ankle. The grueling cross-country road trip is also not fun, but the Panthers are a battle-tested team and figure to be game.
As always, the outcome likely will turn on a few key matchups. Here is a look at five to keep an eye on in this game: