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San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. TV: Fox

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Carolina Panthers expect different 49ers offense this time

On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers likely will see a different-looking San Francisco offense from the one they saw in the second half of Week 10’s game against the 49ers.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had to work the entire day without wide receiver Michael Crabtree and the final two quarters without tight end Vernon Davis. Sunday, he’ll have both, and that means different personnel groupings for the 49ers.

Whereas the 49ers used mostly 12 and 22 personnel – one or two running backs and two tight ends – in the second half, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly expects more sets involving one tight end Sunday.

“With Crabtree out there I think they’re going to lend themselves more to having him on the field than another tight end,” Kuechly said. “We’ve got to prepare for all situations. Maybe they’ll come out and run the ball. It’s one of those things that we have to adjust on the fly, but I think there’s more of a chance that they’ll be in that kind of situation.”

The 49ers – specifically Frank Gore – had success running the ball against the Panthers. Gore’s 82 rushing yards were third most against the Panthers’ stout rush defense all season.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick has rebounded well since what was statistically one of his worst games in 2013. He’s thrown 13 touchdowns and three interceptions in the eight games since Carolina’s 10-9 victory, averaging 218 passing yards per game.

“We do know they are a very dynamic offense,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. “They have a great quarterback in Colin, and he’s playing extremely well right now. Their running game is one of the best running games in the league, and they got one of their star receivers back. We know it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re up for it.”

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