Take a few moments to look over the following statistics, then meet me on the other side for some simple insight and analysis.
|1||OFF Points/G||11th||25.5||18.1||4th||DEF Points/G|
|2||DEF Points/G||2nd||13.3||27.3||5th||OFF Points/G|
|3||OFF Rush Yrds/G||8th||130.1||104.6||12th||DEF Rush Yrds/G|
|4||DEF Rush Yrds/G||2nd||79.1||153.0||1st||OFF Rush Yrds/G|
|5||OFF Rush Yrds/Att||19th||4.0||3.9||10th||DEF Rush Yrds/Att|
|6||DEF Rush Yrds/Att||7th||3.7||4.5||9th||OFF Rush Yrds/Att|
|7||OFF Rush 1st Downs||2nd||70||47||13th||DEF Rush 1st Downs|
|8||DEF Rush 1st Downs||3rd||32||68||3rd||OFF Rush 1st Downs|
|9||OFF Pass Yrds/G||25th||203.0||220.5||8th||DEF Pass Yrds/G|
|10||DEF Pass Yrds/G||10th||221.0||189.9||32nd||OFF Pass Yrds/G|
|11||OFF Pass Yrds/Att||11th||7.5||6.5||5th||DEF Pass Yrds/Att|
|12||DEF Pass Yrds/Att||9th||6.8||8.0||7th||OFF Pass Yrds/Att|
|13||OFF Pass 1st Downs||25th||90||83||3rd||DEF Pass 1st Down|
|14||DEF Pass 1st Down||5th||87||70||32nd||OFF Pass 1st Downs|
|15||OFF Comp %||9th||64.4%||57.2%||4th||DEF Comp %|
|16||DEF Comp %||29th||67.1%||57.3%||26th||OFF Comp %|
|17||OFF 3rd Down %||3rd||47.0%||33.0%||3rd||DEF 3rd Down %|
|18||DEF 3rd Down %||10th||36.3%||40.2%||11th||OFF 3rd Down %|
|21||Turnover Differential||2nd||8+||4+||6th||Turnover Differential|
|22||Time of Possession||1st||34:00||30:14||15th||Time of Possession|
|23||OFF RZ TD %||10th||60.87%||63.64%||28th||DEF RZ TD %|
|24||DEF RZ TD %||3rd||37.50%||62.96%||7th||OFF RZ TD %|
Row 2: Which is more likely?
A. The Panthers defense holds the 49ers below 13.3 points.
B. The Panthers defense allows the 49ers to score more than 27.3 points.
Row 4: The 49ers are averaging almost twice as many rush yards as the Panthers allow per game.
This may very well be the most important stat of the game. If the Panthers hold the 49ers below 100 yards rushing, they will likely win.
Row 6: The yards per attempt stats in this row helps explain row 4's data.
Do you believe the Panthers will allow the 49ers to rush for more than their yards per attempt season average(4.5)?
Rows 9 and 10: Do you mean to tell me that prolific passing numbers aren't synonymous with winning?
Newton and Kaepernick are 25th and 32nd respectively in passing yards per game, yet each have led their teams to winning records. This tells me that defense is still relevant and always will be.
Row 15: The 49ers pass defense will be the toughest Newton has faced thus far.
The return of DE Aldon Smith will make Newton's job even more difficult. Do you believe Newton's completion percentage will be more than 57%?
Row 16: The Panthers 29th ranked pass completion percentage defense is one of the worst in the league.
Will Kaepernick make them pay by besting his bottom ten 57.3% pass completion percentage?
Row 17: 3rd ranked offensive 3rd down conversion rate VS 3rd ranked defensive 3rd down conversion rate.
Here is another strength vs. strength. This stat will most definitely prove to be a crucial one in the final outcome.
Row 19: The 49ers offensive line is allowing less than 2 sacks per game thanks in part to Kaepernick's legs.
Will the Panthers find a way to sack the elusive Kaepernick more than 2 times?
Row 22: The Panthers lead the league in average time of possession.
The 49ers are middle of the road in this category, but I believe the Panthers will finish the game with less than their league leading average.
Row 24: Panthers 3rd ranked red zone defense vs 49ers 7th ranked red zone offense.
This might be one of the most intriguing match-ups on Sunday if each team can manage to get into the red zone. The 49ers are scoring a touchdown approximately 3 out of every 5 trips to the red zone, while the Panthers are only allowing 2 opposing touchdowns for every 5 trips to the red zone. Whoever wins this battle may decide the game.
Don't be surprised if the data gives us one story while the actual game gives us a completely different one. Ultimately, if the Panthers can stop the run and Newton can play efficiently, then there's a good chance they will win. Conversely, if the 49ers can run effectively and Kaepernick is given a clean pocket to work with, then there's an equally good chance that they will come out on top. Either way, it should be a fun game to watch.
Final Score: 49ers 23 Panthers 20
Now that you know some of the stats that stood out to me, let everyone know what exactly caught your attention. Also feel free to answer any of the questions I posed above in the comment section that follows.