San Francisco 49ers training camp has begun! It’s time for us to look at each opponent and provide a reason for and against the 49ers beating them. We’ve included a poll for the community to vote on whether they expect a win or a loss and will see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
In Week 8 the 49ers have the Carolina Panthers coming to town. You can read our opponent preview to see what the Panthers have been up to. The big takeaway is simple: the Panthers have a decent team but play in a division that has the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. Which Panthers team the 49ers get is dependent on how they are doing in the division.
Cam Newton is coming back from injury, but when he’ll be back to full form is anyone’s guess. The Panthers prepared for the worst drafting quarterback Will Grier in the third round. A good backup quarterback is one of the more underrated necessities in this league and the Panthers may be without Newton as he recovers. But Newton should be back by the time the 49ers face them.
Reason for: George Kittle
The Panthers aren’t very good covering tight ends. In fact, in their first seven of nine games in 2018, a tight end caught a touchdown pass in the endzone. Things evened out a bit as the season wore on, but after Week 10 there were 22 passing touchdowns. 10 of which went to tight ends.
Sure, we can say the secondary is bad as they rank fifth in touchdowns given up (32), but let’s focus on Stone Cold George Kittle. If the 49ers start knocking on the door at the endzone, it goes to show that Kittle could be the guy to feast and make the Panthers have a very long day.
So why not use the other pass-catchers? The Panthers aren’t that bad at giving up yardage. They aren’t great, I mean they’re ranked 18th in the most receiving yards (3,847), but it’s not awful. That said, the redzone could be a big issue and George Kittle can go ahead and feast on the Panthers once the 49ers come calling.
Reason against: Panthers Defensive line
That Panthers defensive line is all sorts of nasty. They grabbed Gerald McCoy and Bruce Irvin in the offseason. Add them to Dontari Poe, Kawann Short, and the linebacking of Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson. Oh, and they also drafted Brian Burns and Christian Miller. Both outside linebackers, but the Panthers run a 3-4. Those outside linebackers will be going after the quarterback also. It’s almost unfair.
The 49ers offensive line is going to be mighty busy when this goes down and Jimmy Garoppolo could be having visitors in his backfield at a high frequency. Much like the 49ers going to a wide-9 front, the Panthers are said to be going to some sort of hybrid 3-4-ish scheme. What this is is anyone’s guess, but it should cause some wrinkles when Garoppolo diagnoses coverage.
Also, they have this video. This always motivates a Panthers player or fan.
What will happen in Week 8 vs. Panthers?
This poll is closed