Fri, Nov 8, 3:37pm by Ed Scimia
Match: Carolina Panthers (5-3) vs San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
When & where: 8.05am (AEST) Monday, November 11, Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Wager with: IASbet.com – new customers receive up to a $100 free bet.
But those wins have come mostly against weaker competition, beating up on the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the world over that stretch. Now, they’ll face a stiff upgrade in the level of competition in the San Francisco 49ers – a team that has won five straight, the only streak longer than Carolina’s own.
To be fair, San Francisco hasn’t exactly been defeating the NFL’s elite either. It’s last win came against Jacksonville on a neutral field in London (technically a home game for the Jags), and they haven’t really been tested during the streak either. That makes this a good test for both teams, both of which feature good, young quarterbacks who have been playing well in recent weeks.
Cam Newton got off to a slow start for the Panthers this season, leaving some to wonder if his best days were already behind him. But, Newton has looked more dangerous than ever during the Panther’s winning streak, throwing for seven touchdowns and running for three more over those four games. Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been asked to do nearly as much for the 49ers in recent weeks, but he’s performed solidly: in their last game against Jacksonville, Kaepernick not only threw a touchdown pass, but he also ran for two more in a first half that saw the 49ers run away with the game.
San Francisco’s defence has been strong against the pass all year, while the Panthers’ defence nearly made NFL history by not allowing a touchdown during the first half of each of their first eight games before Atlanta reached the end zone just before halftime last week. The Panthers have been especially strong against the run, limiting opposing teams to less than 80 yards rushing each game, which should create a battle of strength vs. strength against a good San Francisco rushing attack.
There are a couple of significant advantages for San Francisco in this game. The first is that it’s probably the better team: after all, the 49ers came into the year as one of the favourites to win the Super Bowl, while most wondered if the Panthers would even be a respectable team. Outside of quarterback (where Newton has looked great the past few weeks, while Kaepernick has struggled to find consistency this season), the 49ers have the notably-better personnel at most positions. And secondly, the game is in San Francisco, where the 49ers have proven difficult to beat.
As I said earlier, both of these teams have built their winning streaks on weak competition – but only one of these teams has actually beaten a good team this year, as San Francisco did in Week one against Green Bay. They’re also the only team in this game to have reached the Super Bowl last year, and despite not looking dominant this year, they’re still in the hunt to make it back to that game. It’s time for one of these streaks to end, and I feel confident that it will be Carolina’s.
Prediction: San Francisco 23, Carolina 14
Picks: San Francisco -6 ($1.92), Under 43 ($1.97) with IASbet.com
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