The Carolina Panthers are a good team. They have arguably the best running back in football right now. Carolina also has two young, explosive receivers that can beat you down the field. Injuries have slowed Greg Olsen down, but he’s still a viable threat.
Defensively, Derrik Klassen of Football Outsiders did a fantastic job of breaking down the Panthers. Like San Francisco, Carolina can get after the quarterback. They’re second, to the Niners, in adjusted sack rate. There are quite a few similarities between these defenses. The Panthers have a great linebacking duo in Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson. Those two do a great job in coverage and will challenge Kyle Shanahan’s play-action passing game. Carolina has a strong front seven, and their secondary thrives off the pressure. The Panthers have been great on defense this season. They’re numbers still aren’t as impressive as the 49ers.
Which brings us to the Vegas line. The 49ers opened as five-point favorites against the Panthers. That line has moved to -5.5 in favor of San Francisco, which indicates there have been large quantities of money coming in on the Niners. That’s good news for us. Vegas is expecting a lower scoring game with the total at 42. So the prediction should fall around 23-18, good guys.
Five points seem like a lot in this spot for the 49ers. I think they’ll win because Carolina’s offensive line isn’t any good, and Kyle Allen struggles with pressure The Niners’ defensive line is the opposite of that. I do think this will be the game of the week, as well as the stiffest challenge for San Francisco to date. We’ll get more into the matchups as the week goes on. Carolina is a little banged up, and the line could be an indication of that.