Sunday 1:05 PM ET FOX49ers (12-4) Panthers (12-4)
NFL REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS
Total Offense- 49ers: 24th Panthers: 26thPassing- 49ers: 30th Panthers: 29th
Rushing- 49ers: 3rd Panthers: 11thTotal Defense- 49ers: 5th Panthers: 2nd
Pass Defense- 49ers: 4th Panthers: 6thRush Defense- 49ers: 26th Panthers: 2nd
It’s clear, based on the rankings above that this will not be a offensive game. With the exception of the run game, both these teams fall no better than 24th on the offensive side of the ball. So that means one thing…we will get a dose of a 10-9 score game. Which was the score when they met in Week 10.
That Panthers victory at San Francisco featured the fewest combined yards (401) of any NFL game this season and one of just eight games that had only one touchdown scored between the two teams. The primary difference between then and now is that 49ers have Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Aldon Smith at full capacity.
This is probably the most evenly matched match up of the weekend.The 49ers and Panthers will have to rely upon their defenses. For San Francisco, it's a great front seven with one of the best linebacker corps in the league and in Carolina, it's the best young linebacker in the NFL (Luke Kuechly) with a great defensive line in front of him.
Both defenses are going to have their hands full with both 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and Panthers QB Cam Newton as they can win on the ground and through the air. This season, Newton has been the better player, but Kaepernick has the better surrounding cast.
The 49ers haven't lost with Michael Crabtree on the field this season
Pick: 49ersConfidence: 3