NFC Divisional Round Playoff Rematch: Niners at Panthers

Well, the Wild Card games are over and we learned that the New Orleans Saints CAN win a road playoff game after all. Their victory over Philadelphia was the team’s first road playoff victory in their franchise history. The get to be put to the test when they travel to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.

The Carolina Panthers draw the San Francisco 49′ers for the second time this season with their victory over the Green Bay Packers yesterday.

San Francisco’s visit to Charlotte will be their first such visit this season, but the Panthers have the advantage of winning at Candlestick Park earlier this season, 10-9. If you’re looking to go to the game, you can find Carolina Panthers tickets for Sunday still available.

The Niners are getting healthier now as opposed to when the Panthers played them on the road. WR Michael Crabtree is back to making plays and fearless Anquan Boldin is healthy again to make the tough catches over the middle.

One thing I saw in yesterday’s Niners-Packers game was the inaccuracy of Colin Kaepernick. He had 227 yards passing on only 16 of 30 attempts with an INT and TD each. The game was played in very cold conditions in Green Bay, Wisconsin, so some of that is probably expected but does little for the team’s overall confidence when they arrive at the much warmer venue in Charlotte, NC.

The fact their struggles came against the league’s 25th-ranked defense can’t help, either. The Packers were 24th against the pass during the regular season and 25th against the run, so the Niners offense is not hitting on all cylinders.

Frank Gore had only 66 yards rushing on 20 attempts, with the longest run being a ten-yard touchdown.

Where Gore failed in the running game, however, Colin Kaepernick succeeded on 98 yards on seven carries with a long of 42 yards. In the initial meeting between S.F. and Carolina, the Carolina defense kept Kaepernick’s rushing in check.

As for this weekend’s match-up, so far it looks like more of the same from the previous game between the two teams. San Francisco’s offense is still struggling to put drives together and move the ball effectively or consistently and the Carolina defense will have a lot more to say about it than that of the Green Bay Packers.

Prediction:
Carolina 24, San Francisco 13

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

Topics: San Francisco At Carolina, San Francisco At Carolina Preview

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