The San Francisco 49ers continue their attempt to claim a sixth Lombardi Trophy as they travel to face the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The game kicks off at 10:05 a.m. PT, and the game is currently looking like a pick 'em on most gambling lines. The weather will be infinitely better than it was last week. Charlotte got a lot of run Saturday afternoon, but it will be clear skies, sunny and in the 50s for the game.
This game is a rematch of the Week 10 affair in which the Panthers beat the 49ers 10-9 at Candlestick Park. It was an incredibly physical game, and I suspect we'll see something similar this week. You've got two physical defensive fronts that don't do a lot of blitzing, but are still able to bring pressure. The winner of this game could come down to who gets more pressure on the opposing quarterback.
And yes, this game does feature two teams that are very similar to each other. The 49ers and Panthers have strong defenses, and solid running games that get the job, even if they seem unspectacular at times. Oh, and they have arguably the two most dynamic, athletic young quarterbacks in the game. Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick don't "match up" against each other, but they could find themselves facing comparisons for the rest of their careers.
The Panthers are a very strong football team, and they have reason to be confident in their first playoff game in five years. But the 49ers have their own reason to come into this game with a chip on their shoulder. They have Michael Crabtree back on the field, and ideally they'll keep him, Vernon Davis, Garrett Celek and Eric Reid on the field for more than the first half. Additionally, Aldon Smith was in his first game back from rehab in that Week 10 game, and is entering a bit of a groove.
None of this guarantees a 49ers win against the Panthers. These are two quality teams and there is a reason the game is listed as a pick 'em. And considering the 49ers have seen five of their six playoff games under Jim Harbaugh decided by four points or less, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another close one.
Here is a rundown of all the pertinent broadcast details, along with the final injury report, officials and more.
Game time: 10:05 a.m. (Pacific Time)
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV Channel: FOX
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
Radio: KGO 810 AM, The Bone 107.7 FM; 49ers Radio Network - Ted Robinson, Eric Davis; Westwood One - Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Hub Arkush; Spanish Radio KTRB 860 - Erwin Higueros, Jesus Zarate
Odds: Pick 'em
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go (Live); NFL Rewind (Not Live)
Questionable: CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring), LB Dan Skuta (foot)
Probable: LB Navorro Bowman (wrist), WR Michael Crabtree (wrist), DT Demarcus Dobbs (knee, shoulder), C Jonathan Goodwin (not injury related), RB Frank Gore (knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
Last time they played: 49ers lost 10-9 (11/10/2013)
SB Nation blog: Cat Scratch Reader | 5 offense questions with Cat Scratch Reader | 5 defense questions with Cat Scratch Reader | 5 offense questions with Niners Nation | 5 defense questions with Niners Nation | Under-the-radar players | Who would you take from the Panthers | Who would you take from the 49ers | Why each team will win | Why each team will lose