The two biggest surprises in the NFC collide Sunday on the West Coast, where the unbeaten 49ers host the Panthers. Carolina is looking for a fifth straight win since Kyle Allen replaced the injured Cam Newton at quarterback.
How to Watch:
When: Sunday, Oct. 27
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
At 6–0, the 49ers continue to chase their best start since winning their first 10 games in 1990. They also finally have some breathing room in the NFC West, entering this game with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Seahawks and 2 1/2-game lead over the defending conference champion Rams.
San Francisco's defense delivered in the rain last weekend in the nation's capital, limiting the Redskins to 154 yards and 10 first downs in a 9–0 victory. The ground game again took center stage offensively, churning out 137 yards and getting key third-down conversions in two time-consuming fourth-quarter drives. Robbie Gould capped those marches with field goals of 22 and 29 yards as the 49ers ran 20 plays in the final quarter to Washington's five.
Jimmy Garoppolo was an effective game manager in the poor conditions, completing 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards and one interception. Garoppolo still has pedestrian numbers on the season with 1,314 yards and seven TD passes and has gone back-to-back games without a scoring toss.
San Francisco's defense did an adequate job containing Adrian Peterson, limiting him to 81 rushing yards, but it will get an entirely different challenge in this contest with Panthers all-purpose back Christian McCaffrey. He is third in the league with 618 rushing yards–the most of any player who has had a bye week–and also leads Carolina (5–1) with 35 receptions.
McCaffrey is also second in the NFL with 923 scrimmage yards. Tampa Bay has been the only team to figure out how to slow him down–the Buccaneers held him to 110 yards in splitting the two games against their division rival.
McCaffrey, though, still found his way into the end zone twice in Carolina's 37–26 win over Tampa Bay in Week 6 before the bye. He finished with 57 total yards from scrimmage, but Allen picked up the slack with another strong effort, throwing for 227 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Allen has been nearly flawless since replacing Newton, who began doing individual footwork drills this week as he continues to recover from a foot injury. Allen has thrown for 901 yards and seven TDs without an interception while completing 65.8% of his passes. Including his victory in Week 17 last season, Allen is the first quarterback in NFL history to win his first five games without being picked off.