Friday, January 18, 2013

49ers v Falcons Prediction

Reasons why the 9ers shouldn't be the favorite:
- Simple.  We are playing on the road in a noisy indoor stadium.  Interestingly, the 49ers haven't won a road playoff game since 1989 at Soldier Field (Harbaugh was the backup Bears QB).
- We haven't won 3 straight games all year.  This is the 3rd game.  Unlike last year, we are susceptible to lapses in concentration.
- Our defense has been susceptible lately as well.  Justin Smith is not 100%.
- Kaepernick is starting just his 9th game of his career.  Matt Ryan is starting his 82nd game.
- Atlanta was up 27-7 on Seattle's vaunted defense going into the 4th quarter.
- Atlanta outrushed Seattle 167 yards to 123.
- Atlanta's receiving corp is much more experienced and prolific than ours.  They were 6th in passing yards this year.  We were 23rd.
- Atlanta's won 13 games in the regular season, losing only 3, including an irrelevant last game of the season.
- David Akers has been unreliable.
- We are a 4 point overdog, never a good motivational position to be in, especially on the road.

What do we have to do to win:
- Our offensive line should dominate their inferior rush defense.  Kaepernick and Gore both need big days.
- Our offense needs to control the clock and limit their possessions, just as we did against Green Bay's defense.
- Our TEs need to exploit their linebackers/safeties for big chunks of yards.
- Our defensive line needs to get constant pressure on the QB without the aid of blitzes.
- Our secondary needs to limit pass interference penalties on that indoor fast track.
- Our kicker needs to be automatic under 50 yards.

Before the playoffs began, if you asked me which teams I feared more out of GB, Seattle and Atlanta, the Falcons would have been last.  I figured if they even reached this round, we would crush 'em by double digits.  Now, after a week of being widely panned by national critics, the 49ers may be facing a highly motivated home team.  Also, with all the publicity that Kaepernick has received, will he be able to play with this new pressure?  Will the team keep its concentration?

I think so.  Last year we were happy to be here.  This year, its all business.

49ers 38 - Falcons 24

Also, lets go Ravens.  I'm holding out hope for an upset, but I think NE wins 31-17.

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