NFC Divisional Game 2: 49ers (#5) at Panthers (#2)

Who'll win: 49ers (#5) at Panthers (#2)

  • 49ers

    Votes: 49 62.0%
  • Panthers

    Votes: 30 38.0%

  • Total voters
    79

SeoulSoxFan

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A Scud Away from Hell
49ers march on to Carolina after beating Rogers & the Packers today. 
 
The second NFC Divisional match-up (Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1:05 p.m. ET on FOX) has two teams playing their 2nd game of the year.
 
In the first contest, Panthers beat SF on the road 10-9, Panthers hold SF to just 10 1st downs and 2-13 in 3rd down conversions. Kaepernick was also sacked for 6 times for 45 yards. 
 
Prediction: 49ers continue their WC march and leave Riverboat Ron out to dry: 31-20
 

Super Nomario

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49ers offense was terrible in the first meeting, but Crabtree (who was terrific today) wasn't back yet and Vernon Davis left in the second quarter with a concussion. These are two really similar teams - decent offenses that could be great if their talented QBs were a little more consistent, and great front sevens disguising suspect secondaries. I think SF's superior weapons offset Carolina's homefield advantage.
 

ShaneTrot

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I love this match up. Two big boy defenses, two mobile QBs. I have to give the nod to the Niners, they have much better skill players on offense.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The road back to the Superbowl for the 49ers ends in the CLT.  Carolina has the best run defense of all the playoff squads and while their secondary isn't the best, both they and the 49ers have good ones (not sure what you are referencing when you call them suspect, SN - they are both ranked top ten in passing yards-against - is there something I am missing?).   I think the Panthers' ability to take away Gore and limit Kaepernick 's running will be the difference in the game.  
 
But I thought the 49ers would fall in Green Bay today so what do I know...
 

Norm Siebern

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I want Carolina to win because I hate Harbaugh and have never been able to stand SF going all the way back to John Brodie and Chalie Krueger. Also of all the NFC teams left I want the Patriots to play Carolina in the Super Bowl because I think they would kill them if given a second chance.

But I think SF will win because they are better.
 

Super Nomario

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
The road back to the Superbowl for the 49ers ends in the CLT.  Carolina has the best run defense of all the playoff squads and while their secondary isn't the best, both they and the 49ers have good ones (not sure what you are referencing when you call them suspect, SN - they are both ranked top ten in passing yards-against - is there something I am missing?).   I think the Panthers' ability to take away Gore and limit Kaepernick 's running will be the difference in the game.  
 
But I thought the 49ers would fall in Green Bay today so what do I know...
I think a lot of the success of the pass Ds as a whole is due to the fronts getting pressure. We saw this last year when the Pats played SF and Justin Smith went out. You can throw on all the corners in both of these secondaries and the safeties aren't especially good pass defenders. It's a matter of whether you can hold up in pass protection long enough for the WRs to get open. One other thing: both teams have a pair of excellent cover LBs - Davis and Kuechly for CAR, Willis and Bowman for SF.
 

dcmissle

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Memories are tricky, but if SF were to run the road gauntlet of GB/Carolina/Seattle, please name a more impressive path to a SB.
 
Last year's Ravens do not qualify. They started their run with an easy home win against Baltimore.
 

Stitch01

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Id say Giants '07.  Beat 4th, 5th, and 8th DVOA teams on the road then slayed the monster in the SB.
 

Dogman

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dcmissle said:
Memories are tricky, but if SF were to run the road gauntlet of GB/Carolina/Seattle, please name a more impressive path to a SB.
 
Last year's Ravens do not qualify. They started their run with an easy home win against Baltimore.
 
If only they beat themselves.
 

dcmissle

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Dogman2 said:
 
If only they beat themselves.
 
I know.  It's amazing how for people of a certain age the Colts remain identified with Baltimore.
 

coremiller

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I don't see either team scoring a ton of points in this game.  The key to the first game was the Carolina's pass rush dominated SF's O-line.  Carolina had 6 sacks on only 28 dropbacks.  However, SF did run the ball decently (Gore averaged 5.1 ypc).  Adding Crabtree and Davis will obviously help a lot, especially since Crabtree is really good at getting open on the shorter routes that don't require so much time to develop, but it won't matter much if SF can't block better.
 
For those of you who like linebackers, this is the game to watch.  The 3 best MLBs in the league are playing in this game.
 
Whether Steve Smith can play (and how effectively) will make a big difference.  Carolina doesn't have much at WR beyond him.  TE Greg Olsen is their leading receiver but he's not at the Graham/VD/Gronk level and the Niners match up very well with most opposing TEs because their MLBs are so good in coverage.  Ted Ginn is a great pure speed guy but offers nothing else, as the Niners know well.  Brandon Lafell is not going to scare anyone.  
 
I see this playing out a lot like the first game between these two teams, except I see the Niners playing just a bit better on offense.  Special teams and field position will matter a lot b/c both teams will struggle to sustain long drives.  First team to 20 wins.  Take the under.  
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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coremiller said:
I don't see either team scoring a ton of points in this game.  The key to the first game was the Carolina's pass rush dominated SF's O-line.  Carolina had 6 sacks on only 28 dropbacks.  However, SF did run the ball decently (Gore averaged 5.1 ypc).  Adding Crabtree and Davis will obviously help a lot, especially since Crabtree is really good at getting open on the shorter routes that don't require so much time to develop, but it won't matter much if SF can't block better.
 
All that is true, but here's something that nobody is talking about.
 
Charles Johnson has kind of played like shit since he fucked his knee up against the Patriots. During that game, everyone thought he blew an ACL. He missed the next week and when he came back, really hasn't looked the same. Despite having 3 sacks in the last 4 games, PFF has him graded out as a -5.4 in the pass rush. Up to the Patriots game when he fucked his knee up, they had him graded out as a +9.3 in the pass rush.
 
In the 6 games since playing the Patriots, the Panthers are giving up 255 passing yards a game. That includes games against Hall of Fame QB's like Geno Smith, Ryan Tannehill, and Mike Glennon. In the 9 games prior to the Patriots games, teams were averaging 178 passing yards per game. This goes with the obvious SSS caveat, but Charles Johnson may be the most important player on that defense and I wouldn't be shocked to see him go under  the knife in the offseason. If the Panthers can't contain KC like they did in week 10, I think this could end up being the 49ers game to lose.
 

Dehere

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Third straight road trip coming up for SF as they were at AZ in Week 17. Also a case of a west coast team coming east to play at 1pm if you value that. I typically do although I know not everybody buys it. Meanwhile CAR obviously comes off a bye week and they haven't lost at home since Week 1. Really tough scenario for any team.
 

richgedman'sghost

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Dehere said:
Third straight road trip coming up for SF as they were at AZ in Week 17. Also a case of a west coast team coming east to play at 1pm if you value that. I typically do although I know not everybody buys it. Meanwhile CAR obviously comes off a bye week and they haven't lost at home since Week 1. Really tough scenario for any team.
Honest question..Did the 49ers go back to CA after the game? Would it not have been easier to just go straight to Carolina and avoid the jet lag and other effects of the travel? Is it even possible to do on such short notice? I seem to remember reading in past years of teams flying straight to the next game site rather than flying home, but maybe I was mistaken.
 

coremiller

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richgedman'sghost said:
Honest question..Did the 49ers go back to CA after the game? Would it not have been easier to just go straight to Carolina and avoid the jet lag and other effects of the travel? Is it even possible to do on such short notice? I seem to remember reading in past years of teams flying straight to the next game site rather than flying home, but maybe I was mistaken.
 
They went back to CA.  They considered staying over in the Eastern time zone but decided the logistics would have been too difficult since they didn't know in advance where/when they were going to play next.
 
SF played only one 1 pm eastern start this year, at TB, which they won 33-14 (and jumped out to an early 17-0 lead).  Under Harbaugh, they are actually 5-0 in 1 p.m. eastern start games, FWIW (probably not much).  I don't think the early start will be a factor.  The 3 consecutive road games/fatigue is a different issue, however.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This game opened Carolina -1 and has already moved to SF -2.  That's a crazy swing.
 
With all due respect to Carolina, SF is the more talented team, the more experienced team, and the healthier team - a potent combination of factors.  IMO, SF are playing better than anybody in the league right now, while Carolina has some key players that are very gimpy (Steve Smith, Charles Johnson as KFP noted above).   This could definitely be a close 20-17 type game but I wouldn't be surprised to see a 30-13 beatdown either.