Ask Bryan: Series with Seattle

Why do we have to play in Seattle all the time? If you look in the history of us playing them, it has been there more than here. – Terry in Cherryville, N.C.

Counting the playoffs, three of the Panthers' last four matchups with the Seahawks have been in Seattle starting with a playoff loss to cap the 2014 season.  But, of the whopping seven games the Panthers have played against Seattle over the past five seasons, four of them have actually been in Charlotte.

How do two teams in different divisions face off so much? Well, two of the matchups were of the playoff variety and two others were a result of the regular rotation of annual NFC matchups based on division alignment. But the other three matchups weren't guaranteed; rather, they came about as the result of a formula that uses the final division standings the previous season to determine two opponents.

In both 2015 and 2014, the Panthers played the Seahawks based on both teams winning their divisions. In 2012, they played as a result of both finishing third in their respective division.

Speaking of, the Panthers' two opponents for 2017 that will be based on final standings would be the 49ers on the road and the Eagles at home if the season ended today. If the Panthers somehow defy the odds and win a fourth consecutive NFC South title, they would likely visit – that's right – Seattle.

The rest of next year's opponents are already set, with the typical six NFC South matchups along with games against every team in the NFC North and the AFC East. The Packers, Vikings, Dolphins and Bills are set to visit Bank of America Stadium, and Carolina will hit the road to face the Bears, Lions, Patriots and Jets.

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Do you think the Panther brass would do a 10-day stay on the West Coast trip again? More cons than pros? – Craig via Twitter

"The idea behind it was to try to make it easier on the players," head coach Ron Rivera said following Sunday's setback in Seattle that capped an 0-2 trip. "I don't think what happened today had anything to do with the week."

First and foremost, the Panthers hope they aren't soon put in a position where they have to decide whether stay out west for back-to-back games, and it likely is a once-in-a-blue-moon situation. With the Rams relocating to Los Angeles in the offseason, the Panthers had an unprecedented four games out west (counting Denver), setting up this possibility. Back-to-back games in the Pacific Time Zone was a first for the franchise, and it's possible the Panthers may never again face such a prospect.

If they do, they'll weigh their options all over again, but there's a good chance they would handle it the same way. Being away from home to work can be draining, but probably not more so than the strain of going back and forth between time zones.

View the top photos from Panthers vs. Seahawks by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.

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