The Carolina Panthers are a team that has had issues all season scoring, and this week they will once again go back to Matt Moore at QB as they take on the one-win SF 49’ers in a game where the two teams combined records are 1-10.
The Panthers have yet to win, while the Niners finally got their first win last week at home against the Raiders. The two teams are also two of the lowest-scoring in the league, as San Francisco ranks 30th with 15.5 points per game while Carolina is last at 10.4 en route to its worst start since opening 0-7 in 1998.
So with that, something has to break Sunday, but one would think that based on the facts above this is going to be a low-scoring affair that is going to come down to a big play on either defense or special teams.
A big issue for the Niners is the play of QB Alex Smith, who ranks 27th in the NFL with a 73.9 passer rating after throwing nine interceptions to eight touchdowns. Last week vs the Raiders Smith didn’t have an interception for the first time this season, throwing for 196 yards and two second-half touchdowns.
The Panthers defense, which has allowed games of 20, 20, 16 and 23 this season, have to force some mistakes from Smith, and maybe even score on defense since their offense, which has scored just 34 points (8.3 per game) this year.
The Niners need to build on the momentum from a week ago, and not allow Moore, who has thrown for 342 yards, six interceptions and two touchdowns while completing 42.4 percent of his passes for a 33.3 quarterback rating, to get off to a fast start to start thinking he can hit some big plays.
The Panthers will get Steve Smith back, who at least is a playmaker for Carolina, something they don’t have at a number of other positions on the field.
In the end, the Panthers at home I think will find a way. This has the makings of the ugliest game of the week, and I will go with the upset here in Carolina. Carolina 18 San Francisco 16