How sure am I that the Atlanta Falcons will defeat the San Francisco 49ers today? About as sure as anything I’ve predicted in all of 2016. Here’s why…
We’ve digested many of the stats and rankings that suggest today is a landslide win for the Atlanta Falcons. Instead of beating the dead horse, I’ll just call it like it is, the Falcons are far and away the better team and will play like it. The San Francisco 49ers are Chip Kelly’s latest train-wreck. There isn’t a chance in hell we see an upset at the Georgia Dome.
Any week is a week to suggest the Atlanta Falcons could come out and lay an egg. The defense is clunky, the offense lacks rhythm, and we all eat crow as the 49ers steal a win. Not today.
The Falcons may show stumble out of the gate and show kinks in the armor, but they won’t lose. It takes an opponent capable of capitalizing on any Atlanta mistakes. The 49ers are not that opponent today. The Chiefs were the opponent to capitalize on the Falcons’ errors and did so in stealing the Week 13 win. Los Angeles in Week 14 was not. And if you don’t think Atlanta made mistakes last week, go back and re-watch the film.
And speaking of mistakes, it’s worth noting the Falcons haven’t played the perfect game and remain flying high. Atlanta has outscored opponents with their quarterback play and big days from receivers. They’ve won close games with some clutch rushing. Last week we saw the defense step up and dominate the box score.
Each week a new player steals the show while embracing the “next man up” mentality.
Dan Quinn’s Falcons have emerged as a multi-facet threat to any team, on any day. Atlanta is also loaded with younger, more explosive talent. Each week a new player steals the show while embracing the “next man up” mentality. The other side of the field is not as fortunate today. Early retirements and poor personnel moves have left the 49ers a fraction of what once was. San Francisco just doesn’t have the quality players to lineup and win each play today.
Yesterday, Matt Karoly highlighted the ways the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers have changed since the 2012 NFC Championship Game. The Falcons have continued to build on their success and despite a few setbacks, remain an NFC contender to this day. What we see of the 49ers is all that remains of a massive implosion.
The box score will reflect all of this today. If it doesn’t, I may end up in the Witness Protection Program for a while.