Colin Kaepernick has led the Niners to a 10-4 record. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com/Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
These teams met in a thrilling NFC Championship game last season which went down to the wire before the 49ers prevailed 28-24 after facing a 17-0 deficit early in the game. Tuesday morning’s (AEST) has nowhere near as much at stake, with the Falcons putting their hands up as the most disappointing performer of the season after registering just four wins to date. San Fran hasn’t been the same side as last season, but a 10-4 record is still a solid return. Arizona’s surprise win over Seattle has thrown the NFC West in to disarray, and it’s good and bad news for the Niners. A win by the Seahawks would have guaranteed the division crown and locked in a wildcard spot for Colin Kaepernick and his men; the Cardinals win means the West is still open, but Arizona remains a threat to San Fran for the wildcard spot.
Atlanta has suffered this season with the absence of wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White who have missed a substantial chunk of the season. Matt Ryan has performed admirably in a tough situation, but he has already matched the highest interception count of his career and his TD throws are down without his main targets around. Running back Stephen Jackson has been completely ineffective and after eight straight 1,000-yard seasons, he’ll barely break the 500-yard barrier this campaign.
49ers beast Frank Gore has already cracked the 1,000-yard mark this year and with Kaepernick adding another 449 yards on the ground, San Fran has the 5th most productive rushing game this season. Given Atlanta is 29th against the run and 25th defending the pass, the men from the west coast should be able to march upfield almost at will.
San Francisco has got the business done against sub .500 teams this season winning all seven match-ups by 10 points or more. On the other hand, the Falcons are 0-7 against teams with a positive win-loss record, so it should be a matter of the Niners by how many in this one.
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