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49ers will play Panthers in the divisional playoff round

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On Saturday night before the 49ers 23-20 win over the Packers, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24 on a last-second field goal by Shayne Graham.

By virtue of the Saints winning, the 49ers will travel to Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers for the divisional playoff round next week.

This will be the first postseason matchup between both teams as they were former division rivals before the 2002 realignment. Cam Newton has only seen the 49ers once, which was in Week 10 at Candlestick Park where the Panthers won 10-9.

After starting the season 1-3, Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers went on an 8-game winning streak and finished the season 11-1 to an improbable NFC South division title. The emergence of Luke Kuechly in his sophomore year has been one of the largest reasons for drastic improvement on their defense.

Carolina is one of the top ranked defenses, where the defensive line has been one of the most effective pass rushes in the NFL. In the last regular season meeting between both teams, Colin Kaepernick had two chances in the fourth quarter to lead the 49ers to a game-winning drive, but the Panthers defense stood firm with a three-and-out and an interception to seal the game.

The 49ers will play the Panthers at 10:05 a.m. PT on Sunday, January 12 on FOX.


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