The San Francisco 49ers have had some ups and downs this season, with arguably a few more downs than would’ve been expected from a Super Bowl team last year. Granted, they’re not as down as last year’s Super Bowl champions, but that’s a story for another time. What’s most interesting heading into today’s 4:05 EST / 1:05 PST game against the Carolina Panthers isn’t the downs, per se, but the ongoing discussion about whether 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick or Panthers QB Cam Newton is the better long-term bet. It’ll be interesting to watch it play out on FOX today, but if you can’t see it on TV you can watch Panthers vs 49ers game live online free using one of several different methods.
When the season began, 49ers QB Kaepernick was coming off a Super Bowl appearance and the NFL’s sixth-best quarterback rating. Panthers QB Cam Newton, meanwhile, was coming off a losing season (7-9) and a #16 QBR, while having his leadership and focus called into question. Going into today’s Week 10 matchup, Newton ranks eighth in the NFL with a passer rating of 93.1, while Kaepernick ranks 16th at 87.6. Newton has a completion percentage of 64.4, compared to 57.1 for Kaepernick. Newton ranks No. 1 in third-down passing, with a rating of 120.4, while Kaepernick is fourth at 101.2. Newton is averaging 225.1 yards passing and 31.4 yards rushing. Kaepernick is averaging 198.0 and 36.8. Is it any wonder there’s a debate raging?
The49ers are riding a five-game win streak, the longest such streak in NFC, although the Panthers are nipping at the 49ers heels with victories in their past four games. Panthers QB Newton has been a bg reason for that streak, as he’s completed 72.3% of his passes, had seven passing touchdowns and run for three more. Compare that with his first four games of the season, when he completed just 57.5% of his passes and had six TDs and five interceptions, and it’s clear that Newton is peaking at the right time.
Yet watch Panthers vs 49ers game live online free and you’ll see more than one guy on each side of the ball. And that’s where Kaepernick and the 49ers have an advantage. 49ers running back Frank Gore has racked up 558 yards since Week 3, placing him second in the league during that time. And wide receiver Mario Manningham is expected to make his season debut today against the Panthers, taking the field on a Sunday for the first time since injuring his knee 11 months ago. Manningham is bound to make a difference, as he was second on the team last season with 42 receptions for 449 yards. Considering WR Michael Crabtree is practicing but won’t be in pads today, Manningham’s return will be big indeed.
On the defensive side of the ball, Carolina has the NFL’s second-best run defense, which is bound to test 49ers RB Gore, but the 49ers today will get back linebacker Aldon Smith, who’s been away from the team getting treatment for substance abuse. Smith had 4.5 sacks and 18 tackles in three games before taking his leave of absence, so he’s bound to make an impact today against the Panthers and their mobile QB Cam Newton.
You can watch Panthers vs 49ers game live online free on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket Package. The package requires a subscription, but anyone who has one can watch the live streaming version free of any game, including today’s 4:05 EST / 1:05 PST matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers. The quarterback matchup will be particularly entertaining, but on the whole these teams are pretty evenly matched, so only time will tell if the 49ers win as predicted.