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San Francisco 49ers are NFL's best road team

November 17.

GMC Never Say Never Moment
A stingy Panthers defense led by linebacker Luke Kuechly aided in a huge down-to-the-wire road win over the 49ers in Week 10. Was it the best moment of 2013?
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That's the last time the San Francisco 49ers lost on the road, falling 23-20 to the New Orleans Saints before embarking on a seven-game win streak that has them scheduled to roll into Carolina to play the Panthers on Sunday.

Despite losing the division to the Seahawks, San Francisco quietly has reached this point as football's top road team, sitting at 7-2 in unfriendly environments.

Young Colin Kaepernick upped his career playoff record on the road to 2-0 with Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers, becoming -- surprisingly -- the first quarterback in 49ers history to win a pair of away games in January.

On Tuesday's "Around The League Podcast," we asked if the Panthers -- of all this weekend's home teams -- are ripe for an upset.

It starts on offense, with San Francisco riding a six-game win streak since Michael Crabtree's return from Achilles surgery. The team's top receiver didn't immediately make a major impact, but his eight-catch, 125-yard outing against the Packers on Sunday included chunk-play grabs of 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 31 yards. Kap's 13 targets to Crabtree equaled his looks to Anquan Boldin (six) and Vernon Davis (seven) combined.

Davis, meanwhile, barely played when Carolina upset the 49ers in Week 10 because of a concussion. The passing attack is healthy again, but I point primarily to the matchup of San Francisco's defense -- allowing a league-low 14.9 points per game since Week 4 -- against a Panthers offense that ranks worst among all playoff teams in points and yards per game.

After their magical regular season, the Panthers -- one of our favorite teams to watch this season -- have drawn a nasty matchup to begin their quest to reach MetLife. I don't see it ending well.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" features a very special in-studio visit from Bears star Brandon Marshall.

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