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Panthers entertain the 49ers

January 07, 2014 17:54:50 UK

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The Carolina Panthers welcome in the San Francisco 49ers to the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday in a rematch of a regular season clash between the two sides.

Week 10 saw the Panthers come away with a 10-9 victory over the Niners at Candlestick Park although, ominously for Carolina, that game was clearly the worst that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has played all year, throwing for only 91 yards and rushing for just 16 yards on four carries.

The 49ers come into the contest with a seven-game winning streak after defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last weekend.

Phil Dawson connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give San Francisco the 23-20 triumph and the Niners appear to be the form side in the NFC despite the quality of the Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints –  all sides that San Francisco lost to in the regular season.

Carolina started the season poorly, losing three of four games with defeats to the Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals.

Head coach Ron Rivera was rumoured to be on thin ice in Charlotte, but instead he turned the season around by leading the Panthers on an eight-game winning streak that included wins over the Niners and the New England Patriots.

Built around a very strong defence and the opportunistic play of Cam Newton at quarterback, Carolina certainly have the appearance of a Super Bowl team and a tough battle seems likely for the right to play either the Seahawks or Saints in the Conference Championship.

The Panthers are 11.00 to win the Super Bowl outright, while the Seahawks can be backed at 3.20 and the Saints at 21.00.

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