Every year, NFL teams surprise you.
Even though some of the same teams will invariably show up at the top of the standings (*cough* Patriots *cough*), one of the most exciting aspects of the season is watching successful teams come out of nowhere. No teams have exceeded preseason expectations more than the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers.
The 49ers are undefeated, largely, on the strength of their defense. It isn’t that their passing attack is terrible, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is still developing and his yardage totals just aren’t on par with elite passers. Last week’s stat line of 12/21 for 151 yards isn’t a totally fair reference, because the game was played in the elements, but some other Jimmy G lines from this season include 20/29 for 181 yards (Week 5) and 18/26 for 166 and one interception (Week 1).
San Francisco’s offense has generally run through rusher Matt Breida and tight end George Kittle this season. While this has been enough to win, you could see the 49ers losing some shootouts later in the season.
So far, the somewhat limited offense hasn’t mattered because the defense has been so dominant. San Francisco has the second-ranked defense by DVOA and four players are in the top 50 in sacks. Though there is a lot to love all over this defense, rookie Nick Bosa has been particularly special. Bosa is already the clear favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Though Carolina hasn’t gotten as much national attention as San Francisco, they are a very similar team. The Panthers rank third in Defensive DVOA going into Week 8. Though they were on bye last week, Carolina sacked Jameis Winston seven times and picked him off five times in their last outing.
Kyle Allen has been a pleasant surprise at quarterback in relief of Cam Newton, but like Jimmy G, he has some bad games. He went 17/30 for 181 yards against the Jags and 24/34 for 232 against Houston.
Where San Francisco’s defense may be a bit better than Carolina’s, the Panthers have the advantage on offense, and his name is Christian McCaffrey. He is averaging over 100 yards on the ground and 50 yards in the air every week. He also already has nine touchdowns on the year.
The narrative around this game seems to be giving the Niners the edge here, but we see it as a toss-up. Great defenses, strong running games, and so-so game managers under center: in some ways, these teams are mirror images. Look for a close matchup here.
|HOW TO WATCH 49ERS VS. PANTHERS WITHOUT CABLE
|HULU WITH LIVE TV
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
- When: Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4:05pm ET
- Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
- Streaming: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
There are a number of options for watching 49ers vs. Panthers on streaming platforms that carry FOX. However, consult a coverage map to see what game your regional channel will be playing.
If a game is not being carried in your area, the only option might be an NFL Sunday Ticket package.
49ers vs. Panthers live stream: How to watch NFL online
- Cost: $54.99 per month
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
If you’re a big-time sports fan, FuboTV is your best streaming service option. If you love international soccer and you’re a Spanish speaker, FuboTV also offers various add-on packages, including Fubo Latino and Fubo Português. FuboTV’s basic plan showcases nearly 100 channels and includes NFL Network. At $54.99 per month, you’ll also get FS1, FS2, NBCSN, NBA TV, Big Ten Network, Pac 12 Network, BeIn Sports, and CBS Sports Network, along with premium channels like FX/FXX/FXM. The only notable omission for sports fans is ESPN. You can add Fubo’s Sports Plus package for an additional $8.99 per month, which allows you to stream NFL RedZone, (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)
- Cost: $44.99 per month
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV includes sports programming among its offerings, including ESPN and FS1, and as a subscriber to the service, you’ll get free access to Hulu’s sizable on-demand library. (Check out the full list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
AirTV solves one of Sling’s biggest problems: The inability to receive all of your local channels. By purchasing a basic AirTV for $79.99 or the AirTV Player for $119.99, you can merge those local channels into your Sling TV, (or on your mobile device if you have the basic AirTV). As the Daily Dot wrote in its AirTV review, “it’s practically magic.” While select football games are no longer on Sling after its contract impasse with Fox—which for now means no Fox, FS1, or FS2 via Sling—you can still catch the Fox telecasts with AirTV.
The basic AirTV is a dual-tuner streaming device, while the AirTV Player is basically an upgraded Chromecast that has Netflix preinstalled. You’ll still need to own an HD antenna because even though AirTV gets you access to your local channels, it doesn’t actually physically show them to you.
But AirTV—which has no monthly fee—serves to strengthen one of Sling’s biggest weaknesses compared to other live streaming services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue. All those services have plenty of local channels.
While select NFL and college football games (on Fox, FS1, and FS2) are no longer on Sling, you can still catch Fox games with AirTV.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
If you’d like to watch live NFL games directly from your PS4, PlayStation Vue is your best bet. PlayStation also works with streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire products, but what separates PlayStation from the rest of the streaming services is that it’s also compatible with Kodi. No matter how you stream, you’ll get to choose from four tiers of channels—all but the cheapest include NFL Network. From there, you can also add NFL RedZone as part of the $10-per-month Sports Pack, which also unlocks ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Classic, Longhorn Network, Outside TV, and NBCUniversal regional sports networks. You can see the full list of PlayStation Vue channels here. Two other great perks: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and there’s also unlimited cloud DVR.
5) YouTube TV
- Cost: $50 per month
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
Cost: $73.99 per month for four months, or one single payment of $293.96
There are two—and only two—ways of acquiring NFL Sunday Ticket without DirecTV.
There’s NFLSundayTicket.TV, which costs $73.99 per month for four months. It’s everything you love NFL Sunday Ticket but online-only. You can stream from pretty much any device that connects to the internet (but only on one device at a time).
You can also upgrade to the NFLST.TV Max bundle for a total of $99 per month for four months or one single payment of $395.99. You can also add on NFL Game Pass, which allows you to watch replays of every game after they air, for $50 for the full season.
There’s another way to watch NFL Sunday Ticket without DirecTV: Amazon Prime. While you can’t pay for the package using Amazon Prime, you can at least watch all of the games on the service. To start, first download the NFL Sunday Ticket channel on Amazon Prime. It’s free. From there, you’ll just need to sign in with your subscription credentials.
College students can purchase NFL Sunday Ticket at a discounted price through NFLSundayTicket.TV U.
Fantasy football: Who should I start?
Matt Breida, Running Back: Breida has had some off weeks recently and this is a good defense, but Carolina is soft against bruising runners. Feel comfortable starting Breida this week as this game may be won or lost in the trenches.
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back: No one in their right mind is sitting McCaffrey, but this is just to say we aren’t crazy about anyone else in this offense this week.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers: Why it matters
This is a hugely important game for both teams. The 49ers are at the top of a tough NFC West, but the Seahawks and Rams could easily overtake them if they slip. Carolina is hoping to catch the Saints as both teams look towards their starting quarterbacks returning to the lineup.
Because the Panthers started the season a little weaker than the Niners, it is tempting to look at these teams as being in different tiers. In reality, you might give Carolina the offensive edge, even if the San Francisco defense is a little better.
While breakout games from stars like Nick Bosa or Christian McCaffrey could change the tide here, on paper, this matchup looks fairly even. Look for a competitive matchup that could be fairly low scoring if both defenses have their way.
- How to watch NFL RedZone without cable
- How to watch NFL Sunday Ticket without a DirecTV satellite
- How to watch NFL Network online (without cable)
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