49ers vs Panthers Preview
Experience vs youth; ah the “to be or not to be” question of Football. The 49ers, after coming so close to winning the Superbowl last season, have had to fight and claw their way back to this position. The Panthers, after a slow start, have also had to work their way to this spot. These two teams are quite similar when you think about it. They boast young, mobile quarterbacks who are great leaders. They both have fantastic defences and have pretty good supplementary run games. The difference is what do you take? The bliss of youth, or experience? I say they negate each other, the good and the bad, and it comes down to one often overlooked player, Michael Crabtree.
The 49ers have been a vastly different team with him on the field. He opens up opportunities for Vernon Davis and Boldin along with giving the San Francisco run game space to actually run without facing 8 in the box. The weapons are there for the 49ers, and even being at home, I don’t think the Panthers can match them. Newton is capable of having a brilliant game, but Kaepernick has the ability to match or supersede him. This has the ability to, despite the strength of both teams’ defences, to be a shootout, but San Francisco’s resolve and sudden balance on offense will get them over the line.
I’m picking San Francisco to win, 37-33.