Carolina at San Francisco PreviewAfter a 1-3 start to the 2013 NFL season, one would have never guesses that the Carolina Panthers would be battling it out for first place in the NFC South.

Carolina arrives at Candlestick Park  on Sunday, looking to extend a four-game win streak, against a San Francisco 49ers team that continues blast its opponents on its way to a second straight division title.

When: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. EST
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
LINE: +4 (49ers), O/U 43

The Panthers (5-3) have found their offensive groove  behind one of the NLF’s up and coming young quarterbacks, as Cam Newton has led his team to four consecutive wins by 15 points or more while eclipsing 30 points in five of the past six.

After a somewhat slow start, Newton has shifted his game into high gear, completing over 64 percent of his passes for 1,801 yards and 13 TDs, while rushing for 251 yards and four scores.

Defensively, Carolina ranks second in the league against the run and 10th versus the pass, and as a unit the has forced at least one turnover in every single game, while recording three or more turnovers four times.

Nevertheless, as good as the Panthers are, they won’t be the necessarily the best team in the stadium on Sunday, as the 49ers (6-2) are themselves in the midst of a five-game win streak.

Coming off a bye, the defending NFC champions will be plenty rested after dominating opponents, despite ranking last in the league in passing yards.

That’s because their offense relies heavily on its high-octane running attack, fueled by dual threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore, who may sit out in this one, as he is listed probable for Sunday’s game battling an ankle injury.

The tandem have amassed almost 1,000 yards as a duo, placing the Niners’ at the top of the pile in rushing yards per game, with 153 per game.

Meanwhile, the defensively, the 49ers have been staunch against the run and the pass and has forced 13 turnovers in their past five outings.  As a unit they have allowed 145 points/18 PPG ranking them fourth in the league overall.

Matt’s Free Prediction

The Panthers have beaten San Francisco the past three times the two met,  including a 23-20 victory in the most recent contest in 2010 and a 37-27 win in their last trip to Candlestick back in 2004.

This truly the tale of two powerful rushing attacks and hard line defenses. Some good old fashioned smash mouth football here.

I like the spread as games like this tend to be close and points are hard to come by.

49ers 24, Panthers 21
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