Panthers Prepare for Hard-hitting affair in San Fran -

49ers pose major threat to Panthers four-game win streak

Panthers Prepare for Hard-hitting affair in San Fran

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Charlotte -- The Panthers have a tall task in front of them.  If they want to extend their win streak to five consecutive games, they have to beat the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.

The 'Niners have an offensive line that poses a difficult assignment for the Panthers front 7. San Fran's O-line sports five players who have started every game this season.  That continuity has led to the 49ers front 5 carrying a reputation as one of the best units in the league.

"They're very well coached," Ron Rivera said Wednesday. "They understand what they're trying to do. And it is a tall order for us.  It's a great challenge. And it's a good opportunity for us to find out how far along our young guys are."

The Panthers expect a hard-hitting affair on Sunday, between two teams in the catbird seats for the NFC Wildcard chase.

"Very physical," Steve Smith said Thursday. "They'll hit you. I anticipate this is going to be a very physical game. You're going to get hit, going across the middle, whether you catch the ball or not. I talked about it with Cam today, I'd rather get hit with the ball than without it."

Kickoff is a 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can catch the game on Fox46 Carolinas.
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