Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers vs. Panthers - Game Preview and Pick - NFC Divisional Playoff

San Francisco 49ers  – 12-4

Carolina Panthers  - 12-4

49ers vs. Panthers.  The revenge factor will be in full effect on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Divisional Playoff.  After defeating the Green Bay Packers last week, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said “We owe them.”.  Referring to the 49ers week 10, 10-9 loss at home to the Panthers.

But I doubt that strikes any fear whatsoever into the Panthers, as they come into this game winners of 11 of their last 12 twelve games.  And the Panthers have the number two defense in the NFL, which did a pretty good job of containing Kaepernick in week 10.  So the Panthers should come into this game with a lot of confidence.

However, that was a different Colin Kaepernick the Panthers faced in week 10.  He was clearly struggling, and was without his best receiver in Michael Crabtree.  But Crabtree has returned to the lineup, and as we saw against the Packers he is playing extremely well.  So the 49ers offense that the Panthers will face this time, will be operating at a much higher level than last time.

But the Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will present his own set of challenges to the 49ers defense.  And like Keapernick, Newton is capable of doing just as much damage with his legs as with his arm.  As it was Kaepernick’s scrambling ability that ultimately decided the game against the Green Bay Packers.

Which is why I think both quarterback’s running ability will cancel each other out, and the game will be decided by their passing.  And Kaepernick is passing the football the best between the two right now.  Carolina’s defense is great, but the 49ers are the team with the axe to grind.  They have more playoff experience, and momentum is on their side.  49ers win.     1:05 pm – FOX

Score prediction:       23-20  49ers   

Points spread:      49ers  – 1

Over/under:  41 – Over

 

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