For the first time in franchise history the Atlanta Falcons will host the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta. The Falcons will host the San Francisco 49ers at 3 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
So what exactly does this game mean for Atlanta? The Falcons haven’t been this far into the playoffs since 2004. And considering the Michael Vick drama that plagued the city for years, it's good to see the team move on and attempt to create a dynasty under Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith. So needless to say this game has big implications.
As the week has progressed, it’s unfortunate to say that outside of the state of Georgia, no one is giving the Falcons a chance. All the commentators across the board agree that the Falcons will lose. Even the guys in Las Vegas are favoring the 49ers by a four point spread.
Despite the opposition I think the Falcons have a solid chance of winning the game.
The number one factor in the game will be the crowd. If the fans can crank it up and really throw San Francisco’s offense out of whack, there’s a good chance the Falcons can win. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the coaching staff and quarterback Russell Wilson admitted they had trouble hearing and communicating plays so the crowd must maintain that energy.
I think the Falcons should also turn to the running game more. We got a good look at the old Michael “The Burner” Turner that we used to see. And I just love the way offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter used running back Jacquizz Rogers. If the Falcons can use Turner and Rogers wisely, the game definitely favor the Falcons. If the Falcons use the running game effectively this will allow them to work on the clock and minimize the time the 49ers are on the field and their chances of scoring.
For the Falcons, the real burden will be on defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and the defense as they try and control 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Linebacker John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. If the Falcons plan on containing the 49ers explosive offense, these two guys must be in the game.
Just being real I think the Falcons won’t necessarily contain Kaepernick, but maintain him. He’ll make a couple long passes and run for some moderate yards but definitely nothing like last week.
The 49ers are good, there’s no denying that, but I think they’re going to be in the same boat they were in last year when they lost in the NFC championship to the New York Giants.
In my opinion the Falcons faced the next best team in the NFC last week in the Seahawks. We all remember that spanking the Seahawks put on the 49ers three weeks ago, and let’s not forget how the Seahawks beat the New England Patriots in October. The Seahawks were the team to beat in the NFC, and with Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers out, I think the 49ers are the best matchup for the Falcons to get into the Super Bowl.
As for my prediction, it’s tough for me to call a score with this game because it can go in so many different directions. I will however say that I think this game will come down to whoever has the ball last.
I choose the Falcons, 27-24.