(Photo: Reuters/Sean Gardner)
The San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in what should be an explosive NFL 2014 Playoffs clash.
Both the 49ers and the Panthers have solid defenses, powerful running games, and dynamic quarterbacks; this should be a fantastic game that could go either way.
The game will start at 1.05 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream (details below).
Cam Newton will be making his first postseason appearance for the Panthers today, and he needs a big game if the Panthers are to take down a strong 49ers team. San Francisco have more experience, with Colin Kaepernick helping the 49ers to the verge of the Lombardi Trophy last season.
However, both sets of fans will remember how the Panthers shocked the 49ers in November with a 10-9 win at Candlestick Park.
San Francisco fans will be quick to point out that the 49ers were without Kaepernick's favorite target on that day - receiver Michael Crabtree, who missed the game due to a torn Achilles tendon. That led to Kaepernick being limited to just 91 passing yards and 16 rush yards in that game. They obviously must do better today, and they will be confident that was a one off bad game in those departments.
The 49ers will be hoping that running back Frank Gore will have a big game today, and he has been reliable for them in the postseason. Over his previous four playoff games he has produced 91.3 yards on rush per game.
Newton will be a massive threat for the Panthers, and he has run for 2,032 yards over his first three seasons – more than any quarterback in league history. He has also posted more than 11,000 yards on pass, which is the third most in NFL history. He has been a big reason to why the Panthers have made it here this season, and he will want to put on a big performance to try and get Carolina into the Conference Championship Game next week.
San Francisco defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, has indicated that the 49ers are on the alert to stop Newton's running game: "They may even call more of the quarterback runs for him, the quarterback powers and lead draws. We're anticipating more of those from them. Newton's a playmaker, and we all need to be aware of him."
The San Francisco 49ers will play the Carolina Panthers from 1.05 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the Fox network or online through free live stream by clicking here.
Below is a preview video for today's game: