James Brady of Niners Nation thinks the 49ers can’t overlook the Panthers, despite the latter playing some poor teams:
To put it simply: the Panthers are an opportunistic team that play aggressive football. They can be taken advantage of, but it won’t be an easy game. Fortunately, outpacing their offense isn’t too difficult when you have a solid defense as well, which the 49ers do. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the Panthers stand when it comes to their raw stats given the poor teams they’ve faced thus far, but we work with what we’re given.
The 49ers definitely have some skewed stats when you look at the offensive side of the ball. They are among the top teams in the league, yet have the No. 32 passing offense at 189.9 yards per game on average. On the flipside, they have the No. 1 rushing attack, with 153.0 yards on the ground on average.
Colin Kaepernick has suffered from a lack of receivers of late, though he’s getting Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree back soon. Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin have had their moments, but by and large, it’s been on Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to carry the load in the running game.
A high-ankle sprain hurt C.J. Spiller’s chances to follow up on his stellar 2017 season, but the Buffalo Bills running back finally feels like he’s recovering.
Spiller carried the ball 12 times for 116 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, his best game of the season. He was happy to report that he did not suffer a lot of post-game pain despite seeing his heaviest workload since week four.
The Minnesota Vikings have struggled to win games because of the team’s quarterback play, so they’ve turned Christian Ponder’s status into a simple proposition. If he wins, he will keep starting. The Vikings managed to win on Thursday night, but injuries have cast a cloud on his future with the team.