Friday, January 10, 2014

Divisional Round Picks: 49ers v Panthers

Sunday 1:05 PM ET FOX
49ers (12-4) Panthers (12-4)



Total Offense-          49ers: 24th     Panthers: 26th  
Passing-                  49ers: 30th    Panthers: 29th   

Rushing-                  49ers: 3rd       Panthers: 11th   
Total Defense-         49ers: 5th       Panthers: 2nd    

Pass Defense-         49ers: 4th       Panthers: 6th    
Rush 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: 49ers
Confidence: 3

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