The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 7, searching for their second victory of the 2010 NFL season.
Even though the Panthers have looked downright terrible, I'm sure we've learned by now that there are no easy opponents in this league.
Therefore, here are my five keys to a Week 7 victory
Note: I do predict the 49ers to win this game
It's been proven on numerous occasions that winning the turnover battle can give a team a significant advantage in ultimately winning the game.
The 49ers haven't done so well in that area, which is a primary reason why they started the season 0-5.
Hopefully they can learn from the success they had against the Raiders and carry that over into this week.
Head coach Mike Singletary has clearly expressed his desire to implement a run-heavy offense, and intelligently so.
Since Smith is still an inconsistent quarterback, they should be relying on star running back Frank Gore. Gore has had a bit of a struggle this season, but I'm sure that if they continue to give him carries, and implement innovative play-calling, he will return to his usual dominant form.
If that's the case, it'll give them the upper hand on this one.
Even though the Panthers ground game has been surprisingly stagnant this season, their typically dynamic duo of smash and dash are still more than capable of shredding an opposing defense.
Therefore, the front seven will need to be active in pursuit and impose their strength on the point of attack.
If the Niners can stuff the run, it'll force Carolina's offense to become one-dimensional, ensuring the inadequate Matt Moore will not be forced into additional pressure.
Steve Smith is a bit disgruntled that the Panthers have underutilized him this season, and rightfully so. Smith is, in my opinion, one of the premier receivers in the game and needs to be fed the ball early and often.
Nonetheless, he has built a strong rapport with Moore, and he's poised to break free for a big outing on any given week.
That said, the 49ers need to remain aware of him, making sure they slide sufficient coverage in his direction.
The 49ers need to improve their overall focus and discipline in general. Frankly, their lack of both has killed them this season.
Whether it be penalties or a mere inability to finish games, the 49ers have only succeeded at finding ways to lose games.
They need to emphasize the importance of perfecting the details and putting themselves in the best possible situation to win.