A look at today's 49ers game vs. Carolina; including: broadcast information, matchup to watch, three keys to the game and injury report.
49ERS GAME AT A GLANCE
Opponent: vs. Carolina
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 6
Records: 49ers 6-2, Carolina 5-3
TV/Radio: FOX40 (Thom Brennaman play-by-play, Brian Billick color), 680, 1320
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton vs. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis
Newton has a 93.1 passer rating, the highest of his career, and the Panthers have had nice balance between their running and passing games. Newton is perhaps the most athletic quarterback in the league and can throw deep downfield even when his feet aren't set. He also has a knack for extending drives with his feet. Willis and fellow inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman must guard against Newton escaping the pocket on third down.
THREE KEYS TO GAME
Carolina has 23 sacks, which put the Panthers in the middle of the pack among NFL defenses. Ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson stand out, however. Johnson, who leads Carolina with seven sacks, will face 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis today.
The 49ers might be tempted to test one of their new toys, wide receiver Mario Manningham, in the passing game. But they are on a five-game winning streak because of their running attack, and they will try to stick to that approach against Carolina's No. 2-ranked run defense.
Look for the 49ers to make changes in their lackluster return game. Anthony Dixon got a chance at kick returns against Jacksonville and played well. LaMichael James could get his first chance at a punt return in a regular-season game.
Out: WR Quinton Patton (foot)
Questionable: LB Ahmad Brooks (stinger), DT Ray McDonald (biceps), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
Probable: G Alex Boone (shoulder), T Anthony Davis (shoulder), RB Frank Gore (ankle), G Mike Iupati (elbow), DT Quinton Dial (ankle)
Out: LB Chase Blackburn (foot), CB James Dockery (shoulder), G Chris Scott (knee)