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Which Quarterback Has the Edge in Week 10 Matchup Between Panthers and 49ers?

Phil GCorrespondent INovember 8, 2013

Which Quarterback Has the Edge in Week 10 Matchup Between Panthers and 49ers?

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    The San Francisco 49ers (6-2) and Carolina Panthers (5-3) will face off this Sunday for the first time since 2010. This will be the Panthers' first foray into Candlestick Park since 2004.

    With Candlestick Park going off the wayside after this season, the Panthers will try to make it 4-0 against the 49ers since 2001.

    Both teams are heading into this Week 10 matchup with active winning streaks. The 49ers have pulled out five straight victories, while the Panthers will look to secure their fifth straight win.

    This upcoming matchup will bring together two very balanced teams; however, the spotlight will focus on the Panthers and 49ers starting quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick, respectively.

    As many already know, both Newton and Kaepernick came out of the 2011 draft class. Newton was the first overall choice, while Kaepernick was selected by the 49ers with the 36th pick in the second round.

    Despite the gap, there seems to be no animosity from Kaepernick. In fact, Kaepernick and Newton were former roommates and have been on record about their respect for each other’s skill set.

    Friendship aside, both quarterbacks will have something to prove this Sunday. Who has the edge?

    Let's explore.

Aerial Assault?

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Critics have picked apart Newton and Kaepernick's throwing mechanics, but both players are still evolving in this area. Remember, both quarterbacks came from spread-style offenses in college, so patience is needed. 

    Of course, some believe time is running out, especially for Newton, who has 25 more starts than his former roommate. 

    In terms of the physical attributes, both players have excellent arm strength and velocity on their throws. However, mechanics are still an issue with both quarterbacks, especially with regards to footwork in the pocket. 

    Now, I still believe both players have monster potential as throwers, but we'll have to wait for this to eventually materialize. For the moment, we can only judge them as they are now. 

    After an excellent Week 1 performance against the Green Bay Packers, Colin Kaepernick has looked rather subpar throwing the football in Weeks 2-10.

    Yes, his performance has improved in the past few weeks, but I still see issues with his awareness in the pocket. However, I also understand the inconsistencies in the 49ers receiving corps, which has undoubtedly impacted his performance.

    With Newton, I see the same issues, but the former Auburn quarterback has shown far better pocket awareness in the past few weeks. Newton has also looked more accurate, completing 64 percent of his passes thus far in the season.

    Newton will have a stiff test against a very solid 49ers secondary, which ranks eighth against the pass. Kaepernick will face a similar test in the Panthers' 10th-ranked pass defense.

    Based off of recent performance, I would have to give the slight edge to Newton this week.

    Verdict: Cam Newton    

Run Like the Wind

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Both Kaepernick and Newton are phenomenal athletes, especially in open space. However, there is a difference to how each quarterback attacks a defense on the ground. 

    Newton can beat you running north-south, but his underrated elusiveness is what makes him dangerous to opposing defenses.  Also, being 6'5" helps, especially when it comes to shaking off pesky defenders. 

    On the other hand, we have Colin Kaepernick. I believe we all saw Kaepernick's explosiveness in last year's playoffs, so the general rule is to never leave this guy in open space. 

    Kaepernick isn't a great east-west runner. However, put Kaepernick on a straight line, and he will beat most quarterbacks not named Robert Griffin III

    Against the Panthers this Sunday, Kaepernick will face one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Boasting one of the top defensive lines, the Panthers are ranked second against the run thus far in the season. 

    Despite this obstacle, I still see Kaepernick having some success on the ground. Over the past few weeks, the 49ers have opened up the read option and quarterback runs for Kaepernick. 

    Kaepernick has accounted for 122 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the past two games. I expect that success to continue heading into Week 10. 

    Verdict: Colin Kaepernick 

Turnovers

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    This will be a critical area for both Kaepernick and Newton. This is a stat that can dramatically change a game, as in most cases. 

    Newton has thrown seven interceptions on the season thus far, and four of those picks came on the road. Check out the above clip for an excellent breakdown.

    He is also coming off of a two-interception game last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but the Panthers were still able to secure the win. If Newton wants to walk out of Candlestick Park with a win, he can't have that type of performance against this 49ers squad. 

    Kaepernick has been solid in this area, throwing only five picks; however, Cam Newton has attempted 41 more passes in the same eight-game span. 

    This will come down to their respective defenses to make plays. Right now, both teams seem quite even in the turnover department. 

    Verdict: Tie

Final Verdict

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    Verdict: Tie

    They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but in this situation, I would have to disagree. 

    Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton are facing some tough obstacles this Sunday, and I can't just give the edge to one guy.

    Now, if you ask me which quarterback I would take long term, I would have to say Kaepernick. However, at this moment, both quarterbacks need a solid supporting cast to flourish. 

    Until the time comes when both players are at their peak or prime, I'll just select the less flashy answer and call it a wash. 

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