Brady has made 173 starts at quarterback in his career, while Kaepernick has just four games of starting experience. However, the 49ers quarterback will not be an easy player for the Patriots defense to stop this week because of his arm strength and athleticism.
The New England defense still ranks 29th versus the pass, so Kaepernick should be able to throw for 250-plus yards in this game.
Kaepernick's ability to make big plays with his arm and in the running game gives 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh a lot more plays to run than when Alex Smith is at quarterback. Smith is an accurate passer, but he isn't able to stretch the field as much as Kaepernick can.
He has thrown just one interception in four games this season and must continue to protect the football for the 49ers to have success on Sunday night. He is also completing 67.4 percent of his passes, so in terms of accuracy, he is not much of a downgrade from Smith.
As the 49ers examine their options at the quarterback position for this season and beyond, Kaepernick's performance in this game will tell the team a lot about his ability to lead a Super Bowl contender against other top teams.
The 49ers have not played many top-tier teams this season. They defeated the Green Bay Packers (Week 1), Seattle Seahawks (Week 7) and Chicago Bears (Week 11), but they were defeated by the Minnesota Vikings (Week 3) and New York Giants (Week 6).
If Kaepernick defeats the best team in the AFC on the road, then he will establish himself as the obvious starter at quarterback for the rest of the season. If he fails and has a terrible game, then the 49ers must consider giving Smith his job back.
Kaepernick doesn't have to dominate against the Patriots to prove that he should start for the rest of the season. The goal for him is to not make too many mistakes that ultimately cost his team a needed victory.
This is the biggest game of the season for Kaepernick and the 49ers as a team. They have a great opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the league with a victory against the Patriots on Sunday night.
Kaepernick has played well this season, but he hasn't done enough to end the 49ers' quarterback debate. A good performance in a winning effort against Tom Brady and the Patriots would end this debate once and for all.
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