When and where: Sunday 1:05pm. Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina.
The San Fransisco 49ers will be traveling east this weekend to take on the number two seed Carolina Panthers. The 49ers earned the right to take on the Panthers by defeating the Green Bay Packers 23-20 last weekend at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
The 49ers are lead into Carolina by third year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick does not put up eye catching statistics, throing for only 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns, but he is a dynamic player who is as effective with his legs as he is with his arm. When he is asked to throw Kap generally targets either wide receiver Anquan Boldin or tight end Vernon Davis. Those two players combined for 2,029 yards and 20 touchdowns this year. The real star of the 49ers offense however is running back Frank Gore. Gore had another rock solid year putting up 1,128 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns for the third rnked rushing offense in the NFL. The defensive side of the ball is really where this team thrives. They were the fifth ranked defense in the NFL this season and allowed the third fewest points of any NFL team.
The Panthers earned the two seed in the NFC by finishing the year with a 12-4 record in the NFC south. The Panthers are also lead into the game by a young dynamic quarterback; Cam Newton. The third year QB had his worst year from a yardage standpoint, throwing for 3,379 yards, but had career highs in completion percentage and passer rating. His favorite targets are verteran wideout Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen. Smith is not the receiver he was years ago, hauling in only 757 yards and 4 touchdowns on the year, while Olsen quietly had a solid year for a tight end with 816 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Pantheres do boast possibly the best middle linebacker in the game and the sure defenseive rookie of the year in Luke Kuechly. Kuechly lead the team with 156 total tackles. Keep an eye on him during this game.
I like what Carolina does, but I don’t see them having enough to handle the 49ers. This should be a very fun game to watch with these two athletic quarterbacks under center, but in the end Kaepernick’s weapons and the San Fran “D” will prove too much for Newton and company.
San Fransisco 31 – Carolina 20