San Francisco 49ers: Top Five Keys To a 49ers Win Over the Panthers

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIOctober 22, 2010

San Francisco 49ers: Top Five Keys To a 49ers Win Over the Panthers

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    ST. LOUIS - JANUARY 3: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on January 3, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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


1. Win the Turnover Battle

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 10:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Juqua Parker #75 of the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on October 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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.

2. Effective Rushing Attack

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 03:  Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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. 

3. Shut Down the Run

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21: Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a victory against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The 49ers beat the Rams 17-16.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Get
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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. 

4. Contain Steve Smith

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 02:  Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by Mark Roman #26 of the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium on December 2, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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.

5. Fix the Details

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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.