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NFL Prediction NFC Playoff Preview & Free Pick- San Francisco vs. Carolina
- Updated: Jan 11, 2014
NFL NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
San Francisco 49ers (12-4, 6-2 away) @ Carolina Panthers (12-4, 7-1 home) 01/12- 1:05PM EST
Line: SF -1.0
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick will led his team into Charlotte on Sunday afternoon in an NFC Divisional playoff matchup against the Carolina Panthers as third-year quarterback Cam Newton gets set to make his postseason debut.
In a rematch of an earlier season game, which the Panthers won 10-9 at Candlestick, the 49ers will be shooting for their eighth straight victory that would sent them to their third straight NFC championship.
Back on Nov. 10, Carolina (12-4) dominated the 49ers defensively holding Kaepernick on 11 of 22 for a season-low 91 yards with an interception as he ran for only 16 yards and was sacked a career-high six times. San Francisco as a team was held to just 151 yards in total offense.
Following last week’s wild-card win in Green Bay, Kaepernick said “We owe ‘em,” in reference to his 49ers (13-4) playing again against the Panthers.
Kaepernick, 3-1 in postseason play, was effective running when needed to sustain drives against the Packers and it was his 11-yard scamper that made the difference on a third-and-eight play to set up kicker Phil Dawson’s 33-yards field goal as time expired.
In four postseason games, Kaepernick has gained 362 yards while averaging 11.3 per run.
“Our defensive ends can’t get too far past the quarterback or he takes off and it gives him huge lanes,” Carolina defensive tackle Dwan Edwards said. “It’s important that everyone stays in their lanes and when someone does get out of their lane we have to cover that up quickly.”
And it’s that Panther’s defense that ranked second in the league with 301.2 and 15.1 points allowed per game with 60 sacks that will be looking to get the job done a second time against the San Francisco quarterback who has been on a roll during his teams seven-game win streak, averaging 231.7 passing yards, thrown 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions, averaged 6.7 rushing yards and has posted a 101.7 quarterback rating.
“I expect the young man to come out and play well,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said of Kaepernick. “All you have to do is watch the way he has played down the stretch.
Carolina will be trying to end a two-game postseason slide as they seek their first playoff win since a 29-21 win at Chicago on Jan. 15, 2006 in the divisional round.
“You don’t want to be overthinking things,” Newton said. “I have yet to experience a playoff game, but I know the atmosphere will be hectic to say the least.”
The Panthers have struggled to put points on the board in two of their past four games, being held to 17 or fewer points, while completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 330 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in their wins over New Orleans and Atlanta.
“I need to be better, not missing throws that I am capable of making,” said Newton.
Although the Panthers have won seven-straight home games while outscoring their opponents 200-84, oddsmakers have made the 49ers a slim (minus -1.0) point favorite in Sunday’s game, but get the latest spread on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.
Tough one to call on this one…. two great football teams with the stellar defense of the Panthers going up against the experience of the 49ers. If Kaepernick can be successful mixing it up to keep Carolina on their heels, I like their chances.
This contest can easily be a pick-‘em game, but I am going to predict the 49ers winning on Sunday in a close one to advance to next week’s NFC championship game.
Prediction/Pick- San Francisco
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter