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49ers-Panthers picks and predictions: Can San Francisco extend their Week 1 win streak?

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The San Francisco 49ers open the season at home against the Carolina Panthers. We run down various picks and predictions for the game.

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Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NFL season is officially underway, with an unexpected upset to open the season. The New England Patriots were sizable favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt put together huge performances in a 42-27 win. I’d say it was one of the top five best performances we’ve ever seen from Smith throughout his career.

Now we get to prepare for a huge slate of Sunday and Monday action, including the San Francisco 49ers opener against the Carolina Panthers. The 49ers are a 5.5-point underdog against Cam Newton and company. The public is betting heavily on the road favorites in this one, with expectations fairly low for the 49ers. The public had a fairly solid year last season, but I feel like we might see that revert this year.

The 49ers do have plenty of questions, but I think they have enough defensive talent to keep this thing closer. The 49ers offense had a performance against Minnesota in the third preseason game, but it remains to be seen how much consistency we’ll see from that group. That’s the big question in my mind. They have won six straight season openers, but regardless of that streak, I think they make this one interesting.

We’re back with a look at some media picks and predictions for the 49ers Week 1 matchup with the Panthers. Most see the Panthers winning, but a decent amount are taking the 49ers to cover.

SB Nation: 3 out of 9 pick 49ers
ESPN: 2 out of 8 pick 49ers
CBS Sports: 2 out of 8 pick 49ers
FOXSports.com: 3 out of 6 pick 49ers
USA Today: 0 out of 5 pick 49ers
Elliott Harrison, NFL.com: Panthers 19, 49ers 17
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: 49ers 24, Panthers 21
Dennis Manoloff, The Plain Dealer: 49ers 20, Panthers 19
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Panthers 24, 49ers 20
Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: Panthers cover -5.5
Pro Football Talk: MDS Panthers 27-20, Florio Panthers 23-17