@TSFSports NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions: 49ers and Panthers are about to get it Kraken

(Kelley L. Cox/USA Today)

The 6’4, 290 lb. Greg Hardy has promised a long day for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick are the headliners for the final NFC Divisional game of the weekend.  One of the most visible players will be Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Unlike his self-implied handle “The Kraken”, Hardy’s play has been anything but mythical — posting eight sacks in his last three games. Hardy will need another beastly performance against the San Francisco 49ers and the elusive Kaepernick.

Saturday January 11, 2014:

Seattle Seahawks 23, New Orleans Saints 15 - By the time Drew Brees and the Saints arrived in their physical divisional round meeting with the Seahawks, their opposition’s thoughts were focused on hosting the NFC Championship next week. The Saints were shut out for three quarters due to timely drives and a very aggressive defensive performance. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch rushed for 140 bruising yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. Brees passed for 309 yards and Marques Colston — whose ill-advised forward lateral ended the game caught 11 balls for 144 yards and a score. Seattle faces the winner of today’s Panthers/49ers contest.

Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
D. Brees 24 43 309 1
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
K. Robinson 13 57 4.4 1
M. Ingram 10 49 4.9 0
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
M. Colston 11 144 13.1 1
R. Meachem 2 69 34.5 0
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
R. Wilson 9 18 103 0
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
M. Lynch 28 140 5 2
R. Wilson 3 16 5.3 0
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Baldwin 2 30 15 0
J. Kearse 1 25 25 0

New England Patriots 43, Indianapolis Colts 22 - For the second consecutive game, LaGarrette Blount was a sledgehammer for the New England Patriots offense. Blount pounded the Indianapolis Colts for 168 yards on 24 carries, including a 73 yard rumble as the Patriots move on to the AFC Championship. Andrew Luck threw three or more interceptions for the second straight week, including a pick six in the opening minute of action. There was no comeback in the cards as the Patriots controlled the time of possession and the Colts never led.

Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
A. Luck 20 41 331 2
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
D. Brown 17 63 3.7 0
A. Luck 1 5 5 0
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Hilton 4 103 25.8 0
C. Fleener 6 74 12.3 0
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
T. Brady 13 25 198 0
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
L. Blount 24 166 6.9 4
S. Ridley 14 52 3.7 2
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Edelman 6 84 14 0
D. Amendola 3 77 25.7 0


San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Carolina Panthers (12-4) - In their first meeting this season, San Francisco was without wide receiver Michael Crabtree, tight end Vernon Davis — who suffered a concussion early in the contest and linebacker Aldon Smith was just returning to the team after a five-game suspension and was limited on snaps. It looks like the tables have turned on the Panthers at the most critical time. Wide receiver Steve Smith continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered as the regular season closed out. During his absence, Cam Newton was able to spread the ball around as Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. stepped up. The Panthers non-existent running attack has since become a strength. Carolina’s offensive line will have to account for linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, something they did not have to do in Week 10. The Panthers defense remains the best in the NFL. Linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive tackle Greg Hardy anchor a very stout unit which sacked Atlanta’s Matt Ryan nine times in the season finale.

The Niners are the NFL’s best road team going 6-2 in the regular season and defeating the Green Bay Packers last week 23-20 — running their win streak to seven games. This is not the same team the Panthers faced in Week 10, this is the team which won the NFC last season and they may be just a tad better. Colin Kaepernick has become more and more of a dual threat each week as the team regained healthy players. Frank Gore’s rushing numbers haven’t jumped out at anyone, but he has remained healthy and is still good for 20+ touches. Receivers Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are the most dangerous receiving trio remaining in the playoffs. The Panthers defense only were concerned with keeping Boldin in check in their first meeting. If Steve Smith doesn’t go for Carolina expect San Francisco to send pressure at Newton forcing him to defeat them with his arm. The Niners believe their physical secondary is no match for the young Panthers receiving unit. Fullback Mike Tolbert will have major blocking assignments as the edges will be open.

Panthers 22 – Niners 17

Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
Colin Kaepernick 243 416 3197 21
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
Frank Gore 276 1128 4.1 9
Colin Kaepernick 92 524 5.7 4
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
Anquan Boldin 85 1179 13.9 7
Vernon Davis 52 850 16.3 13
Michael Crabtree 19 284 14.9 1
Bruce Miller 25 243 9.7 0
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
Cam Newton 292 473 3379 24
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
DeAngelo Williams 201 843 4.2 3
Cam Newton 111 585 5.3 6
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
Greg Olsen 73 816 11.2 6
Steve Smith 64 745 11.6 4
Brandon LaFell 49 627 12.8 5
Ted Ginn 36 556 15.4 5


San Diego Chargers (9-7) at Denver Broncos (13-3) - The Chargers were the only team to defeat the Broncos at home this season. Phillip Rivers connected with Keenan Allen in a 27-20 stunner in Week 15. The win was San Diego’s second in what has now become a five-game winning streak. Ryan Matthews rushed for a regular season high 127 yards and a score. The most telling stat was the Chargers dominating the time of possession 39 minutes to 21 for the Broncos. Rivers was only 12-20 for 166 yards, but his mistakes were minimal and Ryan Matthews was allowed to be the workhorse — receiving 30 touches. Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ryan rushed for 144 yards. If the Bolts offense can get another great effort out of Matthews, things will get interesting. If he is unable to go Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead will platoon the backfield. The defense only registered an interception and a sack, but were successful in pressuring Peyton Manning for most of the evening with several effective blitz packages.

Wes Welker was nursing a concussion and was unable to go against the Chargers in Week 15 and the Broncos only lost by a touchdown. In Week 10, Welker only had three receptions for 21 yards. It’s safe to say Welker will get more than his share of looks from Manning in this one. The Broncos only ran the ball 11 times for 18 yards in their second meeting, with Knowshon Moreno getting eight of those carries. Denver has since averaged 119 yards on the ground heading into the postseason. Peyton Manning will never be surprised twice and has done his homework on the Chargers pass rush. Manning has four receivers with at least 65 catches and 10 touchdowns so if Welker sees limited action it will have little effect on the Broncos passing attack. Denver will be without linebacker Von Miller — who tore his right ACL. The Broncos would be wise to play physical with Allen and Matthews — who is turnover prone and shies away from a pounding.

Broncos 31 – Chargers 20

Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
Philip Rivers 378 544 4478 32
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
Ryan Mathews 285 1255 4.4 6
Danny Woodhead 106 429 4 2
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
Keenan Allen 71 1046 14.7 8
Antonio Gates 77 872 11.3 4
Eddie Royal 47 631 13.4 8
Danny Woodhead 76 605 8 6
Passing Cmp Att Yds TDs
Peyton Manning 450 659 5477 55
Rushing Car Yds Avg TDs
Knowshon Moreno 241 1038 4.3 10
Montee Ball 120 559 4.7 4
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TDs
Demaryius Thomas 92 1430 15.5 14
Eric Decker 87 1288 14.8 11
Julius Thomas 65 788 12.1 12
Wes Welker 73 778 10.7 10


One Response to “@TSFSports NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions: 49ers and Panthers are about to get it Kraken”

  1. mapoui says:

    no one that I know takes bets on factors like these but I could make a lot of money if they did.

    2 such factors I would have bet a lot on for yesterdays games: that the officiating would seek to cut the game for San Francisco …and that San Diego would make the game safe for Denver.

    both factors actualized just as I predicted.

    this is the NFL after all..the officiating at play-off time always seek to make scenarios the League wants for the super bowl. the black QBs and dark coaches are usually out.

    when these win out it is because they have been good enough to defeat the whole NFL bureaucracy including the officials on the field and in the replay booth

    we can expect more of the same next week in Seattle. the Hawks and Wilson must defeat the NFL/Officiating crew. they might just be good enough to do so. but I wont bet that game easily. is too close considering……

    noted that the Steelers might have been Cinderella this year but that possibility was snuffed by a horrendous non-call that should have seen KC beating the Colts at the end of that game.

    The Colts infraction was as clear as daylight. the officials simply refused to call it. that was a white call..a call against Mike Tomlin

    San Diego has been the same team ever since, from generation to generation. it does not matter. they always find ways to come in second

    that is what first and 10 from third and 17 means, at the most crucial point in the game, after you have brilliantly stopped the opposition up to that point…seconditis

    But I knew, anticipated that..and anyway they had covered the spread and that is what I wanted.

    I figured Denver would not beat the Charges by 10 plus points because the Chargers would fight like hell but find a way to defeat themselves in the end.

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