The Atlanta Falcons (2-3) will be back home this week to take on the San Francisco 49ers (3-2) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 1 p.m. EST. Both teams are starting to find their identities this season and each will look to stay alive in the NFC playoff race.
The 49ers coming off an impressive 37-15 win against the Carolina Panthers, will look to replicate this strong performance this week.
The Niners offense, led by Jimmy Garoppolo, has been solid this season. In terms of total offensive yards they rank in the middle of the pack. As a unit they average 339 yards of total offense; 200.2 passing yards per game and 138.8 rushing yards per game.
Garoppolo, who took over the QB1 spot after Trey Lance went down in Week 2, has been consistent. He has completed 60.7% of his passes for 857 yards and five touchdowns for a total QBR of 41.4.
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Running Back Jeff Wilson, who stepped in for the injured Elijah Mitchell, has been very good this season, rushing the ball 74 times for 375 yards and two touchdowns.
Deebo Samuel hasn’t been the monster he was last year, but he has still been solid, hauling in 20 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Aiyuk, who had a disappointing 2021-22 season, has caught 17 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown.
George Kittle, who has dealt with injuries to start the year, hasn’t been the threat he normally is, recording only 11 catches for 99 yards.
Defensively the 49ers are scary. This defense is the main reason the 49ers have been able to win their games. So far this season the 49ers have the league’s number one ranked defense. As a unit they give up 249.2 total yards of offense a game; 177.8 passing yards per game and 71.4 rushing yards per game.
The Falcons coming off a 21-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will look to put that game behind them and get back into the win column this week.
Offensively the Falcons continue to impress. As a unit they average 331.4 yards of total offense; 166.8 passing yards per game and 164.6 rushing yards per game.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is walking on thin ice in my eyes, hasn’t been anything special this year, completing 57.7% of his passes for 926 yards and four touchdowns for a total QBR of 49.9.
The running back room has been nothing short of excellent, last week they collectively rushed the ball 31 times for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Rookie wide receiver Drake London, who has been quiet the last couple weeks, has been solid through the first five games, hauling in 22 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Kyle Pitts, who didn’t play last game, has been very disappointing to say the least, recording only 10 catches for 150 yards.
Defensively, the Falcons aren’t anything special. At this point in the season, the Falcons are a bottom six ranked defense. As a unit they give up 393 total yards of offense a game; 278.2 passing yards per game and 114.8 rushing yards per game.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers at ATLANTA FALCONS GAME PREVIEW
The Falcons come into this game as 5.5 point underdogs, this is the 6th consecutive week the Falcons are going into a game as the underdog.
The Falcons come into this game a little banged up. Obviously they will be without running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who was put on IR last week due to a knee injury. But Kyle Pitts, who didn’t play last week, was listed on the latest injury report as a limited participant in practice. However, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein said Pitts is expected to play Sunday.
Offensively, the Falcons will most likely continue to run the ball. The backfield of Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, and Avery Williams rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Drake London, who has gone quiet these past couple weeks, will look to finally rebound and load up the stat sheet. London should be able to take advantage of the 49ers secondary as they are now severely undermanned due to the number of injuries they have faced. London will primarily see matchups of Charvarius Ward and Talanoa Hufanga.
I am starting to lose hope that Kyle Pitts will be the focal point of this offense, but hopefully this week is finally the week that becomes true. Pitts should also be able to take advantage of the undermanned 49ers secondary. It’ll be interesting to see how the 49ers play Pitts as they don’t have the primary playmaking safeties they usually have.
The offensive line will have their work cut out for them this week as they are going up against one of, if not the best, defensive lines in the league. They’ll be going up against Javon Kinlaw, Arik Armstead, and Nick Bosa. The line has been very impressive so far this season and hopefully they can hold up this week to give Mariota time to throw and open up holes for the running backs.
Defensively, I feel that the Falcons matchup well against this Niners offense. Cornerbacks A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward will face tough matchups of Samuel and Aiyuk. The matchup to look out for is Terrell vs Samuel, both players having subpar seasons compared to last year will look to prove the doubters wrong.
Grady Jarrett and company will have their work cut out for them this week as they are going up against one of the league’s top lines. The pass rush has been able to total eight sacks so far this season and will need a big game if the Falcons want to win this one. Jarrett, who was called for one of the worst roughing calls ever, will look to use that as motivation. Look for Grady to possibly have a monster game this week.
Linebackers Rashaan Evans, Mykal Walker, and Troy Anderson will need to step up big time as the 49ers love to run the ball.
The 49ers are also coming into this game banged up. During last week’s game, Jimmie Ward broke his hand, his status for the game is unclear. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley tore his ACL and is out for the season. Also pass rusher Nick Bosa injured his groin, and his status for the game is unclear.
These injuries are very big and could play a key role in the end result of this game.
Offensively, the 49ers will be looking to continue their strong rushing attack. Jeff Wilson, coming off one of the best performances of his career, will look to replicate that performance. Wilson should have a good day as the Falcons run defense is one the league’s worst.
The receiving core of Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle will look to rebound after a quiet past couple weeks. However, they’ll have their work cut out for them this week as they’re facing tough matchups in Terrell, Hayward, and company.
The offensive line has a relatively favorable matchup this week, but they’re still facing the talented abilities of Jarrett and the up and coming young players like second-year man Ta’Quon Graham and rookie-edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie.
With possibly three of their biggest playmakers out this week, the 49ers defense will have to lean on their depth. The 49ers front seven and pass rush will have to carry them this week if they want to continue their defensive dominance.
The secondary could be severely undermanned this week, meaning they will have to be on their A game this week as they are facing the talents of Drake London and Kyle Pitts.
The matchup to watch out for is the 49ers defensive line vs the Falcons offensive line. Both units have been very impressive, the winner of this matchup will most likely be the winner of the game.
This game will be a battle of the trenches. Both teams will focus on the ground game and try to get the running backs going early. The injuries that this Niners team is dealing with are very big and should have a huge impact on this game. The Falcons coming off a tough loss will look to use the underdog mentality they have all season. The 49ers, coming off a dominant win will look to continue to wreak havoc defensively.
Score Prediction: 49ers 23 Falcons 16
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