The Panthers should be getting a lot more respect than they are receiving. After beginning the season at 1-3, they won 11 of their final 12 games to earn a first-round bye. Aside from the Seahawks, the Panthers have the best defense in the NFL by far. The Panthers bring the right amount of punch offensively, too, led by a matured Cam Newton. Will Newton thrive in his first career playoff game?
The 49ers met the Panthers in Week 10 at Candlestick, and Carolina's defense held strong for a 10-9 victory. One would expect a coach like Jim Harbaugh, fresh off of a win over the Packers, to have plenty of adjustments in store for the Panthers this time around, but still, there aren't many weaknesses to attack on Carolina's defense. Panthers 20, 49ers 17
Game: San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
Date/Time: Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Television: FOX - Joe Buck & Troy Aikman
NFL Odds: 49ers by 3