NFL Divisional Playoff: San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers match preview

A look ahead to this weekend’s Divisional Playoff match at the Bank of America Stadium in Carolina

The San Francisco 49ers take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in what will be one of the most enticing NFL matchups this season. The 49ers (12-4), victors over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London this year, have become one of the NFL’s best road teams having won 7 of their last 9 games away from Candlestick Park in California.

They face the Panthers (12-4), one of the NFL’s top home teams, in a rematch of week 10 where the 49ers lost 10-9. Carolina, led by Head Coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Cam Newton, started the season poorly with only one win and three losses.

They soon recovered, and went on to win 11 out of 12 games to secure the NFC’s second seed. For a team that accumulated 15 wins and 33 losses in the previous three seasons, Carolina has undergone a remarkable turnaround and is now a legitimate Super Bowl contender. San Francisco have also been playing in top form as of late.

Last year’s Super Bowl runners up have won 7 straight games and have shown that they play their best football in the post-season. Having beaten Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last weekend in temperatures reaching -15°C, the 49ers will be expecting to challenge the Panthers and come away with a victory that will send the team to their third straight NFC Championship game.

 

KICK-OFF: Sunday, 6.05pm

 

PAST THREE MEETINGS:

Carolina 10 – San Francisco 9, Regular Season, November 2013

San Francisco 20 – Carolina 23, Regular Season, October 2010

San Francisco 14 – Carolina 31, Regular Season, December 2007

 

STATS:

The Panthers gave up on average only 12 points per game at home this season, the fewest in the league.

49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, set the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback (181) in last year’s Divisional Playoff match against the Green Bay Packers.  Kaepernick had more rushing yards in the first half of that game (107) than Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Marino had in his entire 17-season NFL career (87).

Panthers Quarterback, Cam Newton has rushed for 28 Touchdowns in just three seasons

The San Francisco 49ers travelled 32,948 miles this season (excluding playoffs). They are one of three teams (Chargers, Raiders) that has made the equivalent of at least one trip around the world this year.

 

ODDS:

San Francisco to win: 1.9

Carolina to win: 1.83

 

TV: Live on Sky Sports 2 at 6.05pm, highlights on Sky Sports 3 on Monday at 8am

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