The first meeting this season between the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers was a figurative brawl. The two teams combined for just 401 total yards of offense on Nov. 10. Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick were held in check, left to observe a war of attrition between running games. A 27-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams in the second quarter encompassed all of the game's fireworks.
Round 2 will take place in Charlotte instead of San Francisco. Otherwise, little has changed since the two teams met two months ago. Newton and Kaepernick are still mercurial performers, capable of transcendence or disappearing entirely. Both teams still stake their reputations on their strong running games and stout defensive fronts.
The environment favors the Panthers, who have won seven straight at Bank of America Stadium since losing there in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers are coming off a confidence-boosting win over the Green Bay Packers on top of the frozen tundra, but the Packers were hamstrung by injuries on defense. The challenge will be very different against Carolina.
For more on the Divisional round, check out Matt's full breakdown of the weekend's action.