The 49ers kick off at 1:05pm pacific time and we'll have our game thread up at 12:45. In the meantime, the Carolina Panthers kick off at 10am at the Meadowlands against the New York Giants. The Panthers annoyed us all with their rather impressive upset of the Minnesota Vikings. With their sixth win last week, the Panthers can now get no better than 6th draft pick. Still some great draft options so a couple more losses would certainly be welcome.
The morning provides us with several other intriguing games worth keeping an eye on for entertainment value and for 49ers value. The 5-9 Bills travel to the 7-7 Falcons, which means a Bills win pushes them closer to a better record than Carolina. The 5-9 Raiders travel to the 3-11 Browns, so a win by the Raiders would be nice. Of course, even though the Raiders beat teams like Pittsburgh, Philly and Denver, I would not be remotely shocked by a Browns upset.
Elsewhere, the Texans face the Dolphins in a playoff elimination battle between 7-7 squads, and the 7-7 Steelers host the Ravens in a must-win for Pittsburgh. So must win games across the board. If you haven't checked out Josh Branco's national preview, make sure you do that. Enjoy, and if you're in and out, we'll see you back here at 1 for the 49ers game.