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5 Crucial Matchups In 49ers-Panthers Duel

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

Easily the best Division Round matchup of this weekend is the 49ers at the Panthers. San Francisco comes in as the rare road favorite, just as they were in Green Bay a week ago, but expect a much more physical battle. With two of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league squaring off against two of the most ferocious defenses, it should be an interesting chess match as Jim Harbaugh and Ron Rivera match wits for the second time this season. While both teams' defensive game-plans may be simple – stop the run and contain the QB – it's never that easy. Here are five matchups, some obvious, that are crucial to Sunday's outcome.