Since mid-November, the quarterback has been on a tear. He led the San Francisco 49ers on a seven-game winning streak and played a superb game in the wild-card victory last weekend against the Green Bay Packers.
With three of the four Divisional Round Weekend games being rematches of regular-season tussles, we'll hear plenty of evidence as to why the first contests are meaningless to coaches. Few examples ring truer than Rivera's assessment of the 49ers under Kaepernick.
"All you have to do is watch the way he has played down the stretch," Rivera said. "We caught them at a good time and it turned out in our benefit."
However, Vernon Davis left the game early with a concussion, stripping the 49ers' offense of its best weapon. Since the Week 10 game, Kaepernick not only has played much better, but the return of Michael Crabtree -- who has improved each week -- from an Achilles tear has diversified the 49ers' offense.
The Panthers' defense dominated the first matchup, but it will face a completely different offense at home on Sunday.
The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Wild Card Weekend action.