When the 49ers and Seahawks meet for the third time this season the stakes could not be higher. The winner will move on to the Super Bowl, while the loser will have to deal with falling just short of the big stage and to make matters worse at the hands of their hated division rival.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Greg Hardy views the Carolina Panthers’ front four as an unstoppable force. It’s easy to understand the fourth-year defensive end’s confidence given the way the Panthers finished the regular season.
Carolina’s blueprint for playoff success has been set: Let the sack-happy defense lead the way and hope dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton can add just enough offense.
Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said he has a case of “little man’s syndrome.” The 5-foot-8, 195-pound cornerback isn’t apologizing though, saying that’s what has helped make him the player he is today.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome. Sometimes even the best defenses don’t stand a chance. Carolina’s didn’t on Sunday night, when the Saints rolled to a 31-13 triumph in which New Orleans took back sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Malcolm Jenkins doesn’t envision New Orleans’ defense crumbling for a second-straight week, no matter how similar the challenges of stopping Russell Wilson and Cam Newton may be.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team’s stellar defensive play so far this season. “Apparently we like to bite on the double moves,” Rivera said.
The Carolina Panthers prided themselves the last two seasons on being a “big chunk offense,” able to gobble up big yards on downfield passes.
Nearly everyone on the New England Patriots knew the statistics of their next opponent. It’s hard not to be aware. The Carolina Panthers rank near the top of the league in virtually every defensive category.
The Panthers have allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL, the second-fewest yards and have forced 21 turnovers this season. And now they’re figuring out how to win close games.