San Francisco has to travel east on a short week and take on a Carolina Panthers team, which last played on Thursday, September 8. The defending NFC champions will have a full three days’ rest and preparation over their Niners counterparts.
But Panthers head coach Ron Rivera isn’t taking the matchup lightly.
Even if Carolina opened up as 13.5-point favorites, according to Odds Shark.
Rivera, who grew up in Northern California and attended Cal, complimented San Francisco head coach Chip Kelly in a press conference with Bay Area media on Wednesday (h/t Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area).
“It’s a solid offensive line, big physical guys up front, which is part of what Coach Kelly wants,” Rivera said. “You got a very active tight end. You got wide receivers who run quick, cutting routes. And you have a good complement of running backs, starting with Carlos Hyde. I think they got what they need.
“And you got a trigger man (quarterback Blaine Gabbert) who has the ability to run or throw. It’s what he’s looking for. It’s what he built when he was at Oregon. It’s what he was doing when he was in Philadelphia, and he’s starting to put it together in San Francisco.”
Rivera did admit, per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, he fell asleep while watching the Niners upend the Rams — not surprising, considering the time difference and lateness of Monday night’s game.
Ron Rivera, America's champion: Panthers coach said he tuned in for #49ers#Rams opener but "unfortunately" fell asleep in fourth quarter.